FAIRBANKS—The Alaska Nanooks may get a little wet today when they compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference cross country championships in Monmouth, Ore.
The temperatures are expected to be in the upper 40s and rain is in the forecast as Western Oregon hosts the event at the Ash Creek Preserve cross country course. The men will race 8 kilometers starting at 9 a.m. ADT, while the women compete in a 6K race at 10 a.m.
“The men and women have put in a lot of hard work and they are ready to run fast,” assistant coach Matt Dunlap said in a press release. “We’ve tailored our training to run fast this weekend. The whole focus this season has been to run fast later and later is now. People are confident and understand what it takes to run fast.”
Juniors Raphaela Sieber and Alyson McPhetres lead the Alaska women’s team, which includes seniors Marit Rjabov and Megan Thompson, sophomore Kryston McPhetres (60th in 2011) and freshmen Julia Ebner and Sara Falconer.
The Nanooks finished fourth in last year’s GNAC Championship.
“The women are confident, excited and racing well,” Dunlap said. “The mindset has been on GNAC’s all year and that we were going to peak to run well, whether they’ve traveled or not.
“They way we’re going into this race, the women are prepared to run fast,” Dunlap aded. “It comes down to having five good races on the same day.”
The men’s team is hoping to improve on last year’s 10th-place finish.
Senior Tyler Kornfield leads the team, with juniors Andrew Arnold at Tex Seims, redshirt freshman Ross McDougell and freshman Michael Fehrenbach and Max Olex rounding out the squad.
“Our men have had very high goals since the beginning of the year,” Dunlap said. “We haven’t traveled with all these guys at once but have with most of them on one or two occasions.
“Like the women, the men are peaking to run fast at GNACs,” he added. “They are confident and excited and I think we’ll see some really good things from them this weekend.”
Alaska Anchorage is the favorite on both sides as the Seawolves will look for their third straight men’s title and fourth consecutive women’s crown.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.