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UAA track and field sending program-best 13 to NCAAs

  • Author: Alaska News
  • Updated: July 8, 2016
  • Published May 17, 2016

A record number of UAA track and field athletes ran, jumped and threw their way into the 2016 NCAA Division II outdoor championships this season.

The NCAA announced the qualifiers Tuesday for the May 26-28 national championships in Bradenton, Florida. Eight UAA men and five women made the list.

The Seawolves won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference outdoor championships on the men's side and placed third on the women's side over the weekend, but many of the NCAA marks were earned in meets throughout the outdoor season.

Leading UAA is senior Cody Parker, who will compete in the javelin in his fourth straight NCAA championships. He won the event at the 2013 championships, and currently holds the top Division II mark in the nation at 234 feet, 7 inches.

Also on the men's side is senior All-American Cody Thomas, who holds the fourth-best decathlon score at 7,201 and will compete for the third time at the NCAAs.

Sophomore Henry Cheseto will make his second trip to the national stage, competing in the 10,000 meters (11th) and 5,000 (21st).

Making their NCAA outdoor debuts are junior Joe Day (800, 15th), sophomore Nathan Kipchumba (800, 7th) and the men's 1,600 relay team of sophomore Liam Lindsay, freshman Nicholas Taylor, junior Adam Commandeur and Thomas (12th).

On the women's side, All-Americans Joyce Chelimo and Jamie Ashcroft return to nationals. After redshirting last season, Chelimo returns with the fastest Division II times this season in the 5,000 and 10,000.

Ashcroft will make her third NCAA trip, qualifying in both the 100 meters and 200 meters.

Also competing are sophomore Caroline Kurgat (10,000, 2nd; 5,000, 12th) for the second time, senior Jessica Pahkala (1,500, 30th) and sophomore Tamara Perez (1,500, 25th; 800, 26th).

UAA's previous program best was 11 NCAA qualifiers in 2015 and 2013.

UAA finishes second in GNAC all-sports rankings

UAA tallied 181 points to finish second in the race for the 2015-16 GNAC all-sports trophy, which goes to the school that earns the best overall results over all conference sports.

Western Washington earned the trophy for the second straight year with 203 points.

The Seawolves won seven titles in the nine GNAC sports they sponsor in 2015-16 and also placed second in both the men's and women's all-sports standings (102 points). UAA won 2015-16 titles in volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track and field, women's basketball and men's outdoor track and field

Points are awarded in two-point increments based on final regular season finishes in football, volleyball, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, baseball and softball and conference meet finishes in men's and women's cross country, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's outdoor track and field and men's and women's golf.

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