FAIRBANKS — Junior Alyson McPhetres and redshirt freshman Ross MacDougall set the pace for the Alaska Nanooks Saturday at the NCAA Division II West Regional Cross Country Championships in Kahuku, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.
McPhetres posted a time of 23 minutes, 12.39 seconds in the 6-kilometer race to place 47th in a field of more than 150 runners from at least 25 different schools.
The Nanooks finished 20th out of 25 teams entered in the women’s race. Chico State edged Alaska Anchorage for the team title. Humboldt State, Cal State Stanislaus and Seattle Pacific rounded out the top five.
“We saw some good things today,” Alaska coach Matt Dunlap said in a press release. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t have five good races.”
MacDougall finished the men’s
8-kilometer race in 34:04, one of the best races in program history and the highest finish in the past five years. Jani Tulppo took 38th in 32:22.59 at the 2007 NCAA West Region Championship in Boise, Idaho.
“Obviously the biggest highlight for us today was Ross’ race,” Dunlap said. “He ran his own race today. He got engaged early and maintained throughout and was even able to outsprint a couple of guys at the end.”
MacDougall’s effort helped the Nanooks place 16th out of 18 teams in the men’s division.
Chico State also won the men’s title, followed by Alaska Anchorage, Western Washington, San Francisco State and Humboldt State.
McPhetres improved her time by a little more than a minute and moved up 52 spots in the women’s standings from her effort in 2011.
“Aly ran a really smart race,” Dunlap said. “She was conservative at the start and was able to pick people off as she went. It was encouraging to see her adapt to the conditions and change her race plan for the better.”
Junior Raphaela Sieber was the second Alaska finisher in 57th place with a time of 23:25.94. Freshman Julia Ebner was 94th in 24:27.90. Rounding out the Alaska scoring team were sophomore Kryston McPhetres (25:21.42, 128th) and freshman Sara Falconer (26:37.46, 150th).
Senior Megan Thompson turned in her fastest West Region performance in her third and final appearance, completing the course in 28 minutes and 15.49 seconds (166th). First-year runner Victoria Frehill was the seventh and final Nanook, crossing in 32:20.10 (169th).
Dunlap said McDougall ran the race he wanted to run.
“It was the best race of his young career and it was awesome that it happened for him today. He’s nothing but excited for next year.”
Junior Tux Seims was the second Nanook to cross, coming in 95th in 35:48.75. Freshmen John Klein (101st, 36:14.33) and Isaac Lammers (110th, 36:29.59) were third and fourth, respectively, and sophomore Kenny Brewer rounded out the top-five and scoring team (117th, 37:45.47).
“It was good to see two of our freshmen (Klein and Lammers) come in as our third and fourth runners today,” Dunlap said. “Even though we didn’t have our best team performance, those were positive results for us to see.”
Alaska’s sixth and seventh runners were juniors Andrew Arnold (123rd, 38:57.77) and Wyatt Mayo (40:31.77).
Most of the Alaska runners will hit the ski trails after returning to Fairbanks today in preparation for the 2012-13 Nordic ski season.