Call it a Seawolves sweep, and sweet.
UAA junior distance runners Micah Chelimo and Susan Tanui on Thursday were named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference's Male and Co-Female Athletes of the Year, respectively, for track and field.
Those honors gave UAA, which participates in seven GNAC sports, a sweep of the conference's seven Athlete of the Year awards in those sports -- the only caveat is Tanui shared the women's honor with Seattle Pacific's Brittany Aanstad, the Division II national champion javelin thrower.
Chelimo last week won the 5,000-meter title at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Colorado, becoming the second Seawolves track and field athlete in history to be crowned a national champion. He also finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Tanui finished second at nationals in the steeplechase and eighth in the 5,000.
Chelimo's track Athlete of the Year award, a unanimous selection with all nine first-place votes from coaches, was his second such conference honor this school year. He was voted GNAC's Male Cross-Country Runner of the Year after winning the GNAC and West Region titles, and finishing 15th at the Division II nationals.
Chelimo, who holds a 3.41 grade-point average in engineering, on Thursday was also one of three UAA athletes named to the Academic All-District Track & Field/Cross Country team. He was joined by women's hurdler Haleigh Lloyd (3.67, nursing) and men's hurdler Shaun Ward (3.52, marketing and management).
Tanui, a transfer from Dallas Baptist, also was revealed Thursday as the unanimous winner of the GNAC's Female Newcomer of the Year for track and field.
Other Seawolves honored by the GNAC on Thursday were javelin thrower Cody Parker, who was voted Male Freshman of the Year, and Grace Morgan, who was voted Female Freshman of the Year. Parker finished third at the NCAA's with a GNAC-record throw of 232 feet, 5 inches, and Morgan captured the 100 and 200 titles at the GNAC Championships.
Besides Chelimo and Tanui's combined three GNAC Athlete of the Year honors, UAA's other award winners -- and the honor is Player of the Year in those sports -- were the following:
• Volleyball -- Senior outside hitter Jackie Matthisen, an All-West Region selection and honorable-mention All-American copped the honor after leading the GNAC in kills per conference game with 4.45.
• Men's basketball -- Senior center Taylor Rohde, UAA's Athlete of the Year and a consensus All-American, racked the big conference prize after averaging 19.8 points and eight rebounds per game, and shooting 62.7 percent from the field.
• Women's basketball -- Senior All-American center Hanna Johansson not only dominated in the paint with 14.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 55-percent shooting, she finished her career with a school-record 133 games played, including a school-record 112 wins.
• Women's cross country -- Like Chelimo, senior Ruth Keino swept the GNAC and West Region titles, plus her ninth-place finish at the Division II nationals topped all Seawolves at the meet.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.
UAA participates in seven sports in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and Seawolves athletes swept Athlete of the Year honors in all seven, with Micah Chelimo bagging men's honors in both cross-country running and track and field. He and fellow distance runner Susan Tanui, the conference co-Athlete of the Year in women's track and field, completed the sweep with their honors Thursday.
Micah Chelimo Junior Men's Cross Country
Micah Chelimo Junior Men's Track & Field
Hanna Johansson Senior Women's Basketball
Ruth Keino Senior Women's Cross Country
Jackie Matthisen Senior Volleyball
Taylor Rohde Senior Men's Basketball
Susan Tanui Junior Women's Track & Field
By DOYLE WOODY
Anchorage Daily News