Micah Chelimo, a four-time national champion who currently ranks among the 10 fastest college runners at two distances, took home the Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year award Friday night, becoming the third person in history to be named UAA's top athlete twice.
Chelimo, a senior from Kenya, won one event and finished second in another at last month's NCAA Division II indoor track and field championships. The only UAA man to qualify for the championships, he single-handedly led the Seawolves to ninth place in the team standings.
His victory in the 3,000 meters and his second-place finish in the 5,000 brought his career totals to four national championships and 12 All-America performances.
And he's not done yet. Chelimo is off to a blazing start in the outdoor track and field season, his final season with the Seawolves. He owns the nation's third-fastest 10,000-meter time among collegians, trailing two Division I runners from Brigham Young, and ranks ninth in the 5,000 meters, a list dominated by Division I runners.
Chelimo is the second athlete to win back-to-back Athlete of the Year awards. Toby Schwoerer, a skier and runner, took the honor in 2002 and 2003. Gymnast Teri Frankie is the other two-time winner, an impressive achievement that included the 1986 award and, a couple of knee surgeries later, the 1990 award.
Chelimo won last year's award following a school year in which he won three national titles -- the 5,000 meters at the 2012 outdoor championships, the cross country national championship in the fall of 2012 and the 5,000 meters at last year's indoor championships.
He has earned more All-America honors than anyone in Great Northwest Athletic Conference history. And he ranks second on UAA's list of most-honored athletes, behind 14-time All-America swimmer Jon Pauole, UAA's Athlete of the Year in 1992.
He earned the GNAC's Athlete of the Year Award for indoor track earlier this season after lifting UAA to second place at the conference championship, where he single-handedly scored 26 points behind wins in the 5,000 and 3,000 and a third-place finish in the mile.
Chelimo topped a field of 14 nominees that also included Karolin Anders (women's indoor track & field), Dylan Anthony (men's cross country), Matt Bailey (hockey), Stefany Bryan (gymnastics), Kylie Burns (women's basketball), Marine Dusser (women's skiing), Kyle Fossman (men's basketball), Niko Harmanen (men's skiing), Ruth Keino (women's outdoor track & field), Joyce Kipchumba (women's cross country), Cody Parker (men's outdoor track & field) and Katelynn Zanders (volleyball).
The award, sponsored by the Benton Bay Athletic Lions Club and UAA Athletics, is voted on by a committee of UAA Athletics staff, Benton Bay members and local media.
UAA's athletes of the year
2014 Micah Chelimo Track & Field
2013 Micah Chelimo Cross country/track & field
2012 Taylor Rohde Men's basketball
2011 Ruth Keino Cross country/track & field
2010 Calli Scott Volleyball
2009 David Registe Track & Field
2008 Luke Cooper Men's basketball
2007 Rebecca Kielpinski Women's basketball
2006 Kemmy Burgess Men's asketball
2005 Mandy Kaempf Skiing/Cross country
2004 Peter Bullock Men's basketball
2003 Tobias Schwoerer Skiing/Cross country
2002 Tobias Schwoerer Skiing/Cross country
2001 Ed Kirk Men's basketball
2000 Edda Mutter Women's skiing
1999 Jim Hajdukovich Men's basketball
1998 Zuzana Razusova Women's skiing
1997 Frode Lillefjell Men's skiing/Cross country
(tie) Elena Tkacheva Gymnastics
1996 Allegra Stoetzel Women's basketball
1995 Jason Kaiser Men's basketball
(tie) Karen Hoey Gymnastics
1994 Kerry Robitaille Gymnastics
1993 Jennie Szczerbinski Volleyball
1992 Jon Pauole Swimming
1991 Paul Krake Hockey
1990 Teri Frankie Gymnastics
1989 Michael Johnson Men's basketball
1988 Robin Graul Women's basketball
1987 Hansi Gnad Men's basketball
1986 Teri Frankie Gymnastics
1985 Tiina Kantola Women's skiing/Cross country
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