UAA runners shine at West Region

Sparked by a 1-2 finish from Susan Tanui and Joyce Kipchumba, the UAA women's cross country team captured its fourth region title in five years Saturday in Spokane, Wash.

The Seawolves, ranked fourth in the nation, held off fifth-ranked Chico State to win the NCAA Division II West Region championship by three points, 76-79.

The order was reversed in the men's competition, where fourth-ranked Chico State boasted the top three finishers to win for the 10th time in 12 years, outdistancing second-place UAA 33-81.

Both UAA teams qualified for the Nov. 23 national championships.

The regional title was the sixth for UAA, all of them coming in the last five years. The men have won two championships (2011, 2010) and the women four (2013, 2011, 2010, 2009).

"We're happy with the (women's) win," UAA coach Michael Friess said in a press release. "Our goal was to run solid and get to the national meet. Having Susan and Joyce go 1-2 really helped accomplish that.

"Now we'll just try to focus on getting better in the next couple of weeks and that is something we are capable of doing."

Tanui, a senior from Kenya who was the national runnerup last season, won her second straight West Region title. She covered the 6-kilometer course at the Plantes Ferry Athletic Complex in 21 minutes, 45.5 seconds to beat Kipchumba by three seconds. Kipchumba, a sophomore from Kenya, finished in 21:48.4.

Two Alaskans earned all-region honors by cracking the top 20 -- seniors Ivy O'Guinn of Soldotna (18th in 22:44.7) and Susan Bick of Anchorage (19th in 22:46.4).

UAA's other scorer was junior Bryn Haebe (36th in 23:02.7).

In the men's 10-K race, Chico State's Isaac Chavez cruised to a 36-second victory in 30:55.9, marking the fourth time in his career that he has claimed a top-five finish at the region meet.

Freshman Victor Samoei led UAA in fifth place (31:49.0).

Gaining all-region honors with Samoei were juniors Dylan Anthony (ninth in 32:14.4) and Isaac Kangogo (12th in 32:20.2).

Also scoring for UAA were junior Kevin Rooke (23rd in 32:36.6) and sophomore Dominik Notz (35th in 33:02.5).


Anchorage Daily News