Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cheseto, Friess earn West Region honors

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Coming off a sweep of the 2010 NCAA Division II West Region titles, the Alaska Anchorage cross country program received a trio of major individual honors on Wednesday as senior Marko Cheseto earned his second U.S. Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association Men’s Athlete of the Year and head coach Michael Friess swept the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year honors.

Cheseto, from Kapenguria, Kenya, collected the men’s West Region honor after racing to his second straight victory at the West Region Championships on Nov. 20 in Bellingham, Wash. Cheseto, who is undefeated this season in six races, posted a winning time of 31 minutes, 20.8 seconds, helping the No. 6-ranked Seawolves to their first-ever West Region title.

On Nov. 6, Cheseto paced the Seawolves to their fifth Great Northwest Athletic Conference title in nine years with his third consecutive individual win. Throughout the season, Cheseto registered first-place finishes at the Hawaii Pacific Invite (Sept. 4), BYU-Hawaii Invite (Sept. 11), Willamette Invite (Oct. 2) and the Western Washington Invite (Oct. 23).

Friess, in his 21st season as head coach of the UAA cross country and track & field teams, was named the USTFCCCA’s Men’s and Women’s West Region Coach of the Year after leading the Seawolves to the program’s first-ever sweep of the West Region Championships and the GNAC Championships.

In addition to sweeping the West Region and league championships, Friess guided the Seawolves to team wins at both Hawaii invites and the WWU Invite. The only meet that evaded the Friess-led Seawolves was the Willamette Invite where UAA finished second in the women’s race and third in the men’s against Div. I opponents.

Friess, a six-time conference coach-of-the-year, earned his first West Region honor in the spring of 2009 for the men’s track & field team, before picking up his first women’s cross country honor in the fall of the same year.

The Seawolf men, whose No. 6 spot in today’s final regular-season ranking is a season best, will join the No. 5-ranked women’s team for the 2010 NCAA Div. II Championships on Dec. 4 in Louisville, Ky.

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