Caroline Kurgat, the first UAA runner to win an NCAA Division II national championship in cross country, was named the school's athlete of the year Friday.
Kurgat, a senior from Eldoret, Kenya, who is following her triumphant cross-country season with a dominant track season, is the 34th athlete to earn the Bill McKay Athlete of the Year award.
In voting done by UAA athletic department staff members, media members and Benton Bay Lions Club members, Kurgat topped a field of 12 nominees for the award — Darrion Gray (men's indoor track & field), Keala Kaio-Perez (volleyball), Edwin Kangogo (men's cross country), Olivier Mantha (hockey), Danielle McCormick (women's indoor and outdoor track & field), Mackenzie Miller (gymnastics), Tony Naciuk (men's skiing), Dominik Notz (men's outdoor track & field), Brian Pearson (men's basketball), Hailey Swirbul (women's skiing) and Hannah Wandersee (women's basketball).
Kurgat was honored Friday night at UAA's annual all-sports banquet. Also picking up major awards were Mantha and cross-country skier Casey Wright, who won the Dresser Cup for academic achievement.
Two-time winner Mantha, a senior who is already playing pro hockey in the ECHL, and Wright, who competed in February's Winter Olympics, both own 4.0 grade-point averages.
Bill McKay Athlete of the Year
2018 — Caroline Kurgat, women's cross country
2017 — Morgan Hooe, volleyball
2016 — Megan Mullings, women's basketball
2015 — Cody Thomas, men's track & field
2014 — Micah Chelimo, men's cross country/track & field
2013 — Micah Chelimo, men's cross country/track & field
2012 — Taylor Rohde, men's basketball
2011 — Ruth Keino, women's cross country/track & field
2010 — Calli Scott, volleyball
2009 — David Registe, men's track & field
2008 — Luke Cooper, men's basketball
2007 — Rebecca Kielpinski, women's basketball
2006 — Kemmy Burgess, men's basketball
2005 — Mandy Kaempf, women's skiing/cross country
2004 — Peter Bullock, men's basketball
2003 — Tobias Schwoerer, men's skiing/cross country
2002 — Tobias Schwoerer, men's 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; Elena Tkacheva, gymnastics
1996 — Allegra Stoetzel, women's basketball
1995 — Jason Kaiser, men's basketball; Karen Hoey, gymnastics
1994 — Kerry Robitaille, gymnastics
1993 — Jen 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