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CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

Running Roundup: Girdwood’s Ava Earl, Anchorage’s Santiago Gomez-Prosser qualify for NCAA Cross Country Championships

by | Nov 12, 2022 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Running

Ava Earl

When it comes to cross-country running, Alaskans are known for their grit and willingness to adapt, setting their goals high each season.

On Friday, Girdwood’s Ava Earl and the Northwestern women made history, earning the team’s first NCAA Cross Country Championship berth in 20 years.

Earl, a South Anchorage grad, registered a 25th place at the Midwest Region Championships in a field of 230 competitors, earning All-Region honors. She was the fourth Wildcat to cross the line in the 6-kilometer race, stopping the clock at 20 minutes, 44 seconds – a sizzling pace of 5:33 per mile.

While the favorite to win the race, Oklahoma State, sealed the team title with 58 points, it was the team from Northwestern that achieved the runner-up position with 88 points — 11 ahead of Bradley University.

The Northwestern cross country team featuring Ava Earl of Girdwood (fourth from left).

In doing so, the Northwestern women entered rarefied air, qualifying for the national championships for just the third time as a team. The ‘Cats finished 30th in 2002 and 13th in 1985.

Joining Earl at the ‘big dance’ will be Anchorage’s Santiago Gomez-Prosser. The sophomore, formerly of Dimond High, placed 17th at the Mountain Region Championships, running 28:12 for 10 kilometers — a scorching pace of 4:33 per mile.

Gomez-Prosser was the fifth scorer for Northern Arizona, helping the Lumberjacks claim an 11-point victory over their annual rivals from Brigham Young University.

Northern Arizona runner Santiago Gomez-Prosser (273) of Anchorage.

In only his second 10K for the blue and gold, Gomez-Prosser improved drastically from his regional showing a year ago, taking off 3:20 from his time and moving up 41 places in the process, earning All-Region honors.

The Lumberjacks return as the defending national champions, making their 32nd team appearance and aiming to add to their collection of five national titles (2016-2018, 2020-2021).

The NCAA Championships are slated for November 19th in Stillwater, Oklahoma, with live streaming available at NCAA.com.

 

Other Alaskans at DI Regionals
  • Anchorage’s Blake Bennett placed 82nd (30:09) at the West Region Championships. The former ACS star finished as the second runner representing Grand Canyon.
  • West Anchorage’s Ethan Davis placed 123rd (32:53) at the Mid-Atlantic Region Championships, finishing as the fourth runner for Lehigh.
  • Daniel Abramowicz of Fairbanks placed 183rd (32:03) at the West Region Championship. The West Valley star finished as San Francisco’s fifth runner.
  • Claire Nelson of Eagle River placed 114th (23:20) at the Mountain Region Championships, crossing the line as the sixth runner for Nevada.
  • South Anchorage’s Lucy Young placed 119th (22:40) at the Southeast Region Championships, as the fourth runner for William & Mary.
  • Chugiak’s Breanna Day placed 221st (25:39) at the Southeast Region Championships, finishing as Murray State’s fifth runner.
  • Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar, an assistant coach at Virginia, helped the UVA men clinch an auto-qualifier while the women earned an at-large bid (first time at nationals since 2015). The men finished 2nd at the Southeast Regional Championships to nab the second auto-qualifier spot behind North Carolina by scoring 83 points — five points ahead of Wake Forest. The women scored 109 points to place third behind NC State and North Carolina, earning the at-large bid after previously beating North Carolina head-to-head at the ACC Championships two weeks ago.

Kodiak’s Trevor Dunbar and the UVA men’s team.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Alaska Airlines | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Joe Alston | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Aspen Endodontics | Glen Bailey | Kathie Bethard | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Continental Auto Group | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris | The Conway Family | Donley Family | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Foley & Pearson | JL Properties | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Amy and Jason Miller | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | Rick Mystrom | Kathleen Navarre | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Dave and DeAnne Rand | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Replacement Glass | Residential Mortgage | RSA Engineering- Sarah & A.J. Schirack | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Peter Pounds | Dan Rufner | Harlow Robinson | Pete Robinson | Moria Smith | Taylored Restoration | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Team Heat | Todd Whited | UAA Seawolves | Don Winchester

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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