UAA’s Joshua Caleb competes at the GNAC Championships. Photo by Loren Orr/Ian Marks

It may have been his second collegiate track and field meet, but UAA’s Joshua Caleb competed like a veteran at the GNAC Championships, zooming to a pair of titles in the 60 and 200, and shattering the all-time conference records in the process.

A freshman from Nigeria, he clocked 6.73 seconds in the 60 (after running 6.70 in the prelims) before closing out the meet with a scintillating 21.18 seconds in the 200 and recording the fastest split (47.78) on the 4×400-meter relay that placed runner-up.

Currently, both of his times in the individual events rank top-10 in Division II this season.

Caleb, who joined the Seawolves in January, comes to the 49th state with experience, having competed in the finals at the African U20 Championships and Nigerian Championships. His talent combined with an impeccable drive to improve has helped Caleb flourish, becoming the first UAA male to win the 60 and 200 at the indoor conference meet.

After obliterating the GNAC record in the 200 by a staggering 0.22 seconds, Caleb earned performance of the meet, collecting his second career accolade in as many meets.

Joining Caleb in the sprinting sweep was teammate Kevin Angarita.

Kevin Angarita

The senior and reigning champion who hails from Colombia, Angarita collected his third title in the 400, after previously taking top honors in 2023 at both the indoor and outdoor conference championships.

This time around Angarita finished in 47.88 seconds, becoming the first Seawolf to go sub-48 indoors, resetting the program record he established just 10 days prior. His time currently sits tied for No. 25 in Division II this season.

Angarita and Caleb teamed with Chugiak’s Anders Larsen and India’s Riday Jana in the 4×400 relay to dominate their heat in 3:18.33, record the sixth-fastest time in program history and finish second to Western Washington. Larsen also had an impressive showing in the heptathlon, placing fourth with 4,428 points, which included personal bests in the high jump (5-11.5, UAA No. 7) and 1,000 (2:59.70).

Teammate Michael Zapherson claimed two medals in the distance events. The senior from North Carolina took runner-up in the 3,000 (8:26.65) and third in the 5,000 (14:42.48), while Oregon’s John Peckham placed fifth in the 5,000 (14:49.80).

Anchorage’s Ty Elliott took 11th in the 3,000 (8:40.93) after anchoring the fifth-place distance-medley relay, which also included Homer’s Lance Seneff. Seneff, who ran the 800 leg of the relay, returned to the track after setting a lifetime best in the open 800 (1:59.91) and competing in the mile (4:31.09) with Colorado’s Cole Nash (4:19.92).

Germany’s Marc Mercier led the Seawolves with a sixth-place showing in the long jump (22-0.75), followed by Eagle River’s Morgan Grant (20-7) and Anders Larsen (20-6.5). Grant also competed in the triple jump (39-3.75) along with Palmer’s Felix Robertson (40-8.25), who placed eighth.

Former East High standouts Brian Morris and Eric Bushnell made their conference debut in the sprints and throws. Morris competed in the 200 (22.63) and 60 (7.19), while Bushnell represented in the shot put (38-0).

The Seawolves finished fourth with 70 points, while Western Washington won with a conference meet record of 187.66 points.

On the women’s side, the Seawolves were led by freshman Jess Chisar who claimed the 800-meter title.

Jess Chisar

Chisar, a California native, ran tactically, sitting in fifth for the first of four laps before moving up to second by the halfway mark. She maintained her position with one lap remaining, before making her move with less than 100 meters to go. She crossed the line in 2:12.35 to win by 1.03 seconds and earn UAA’s first title in the event since Soldotna’s Danielle McCormick in 2018 who went on to win a Division II national title.

Four days after securing the GNAC title, Chisar contested the 800 again, running 2:11.65 at the Ken Shannon Last Chance to move up to No. 5 in program history and rank 33rd in Division II this season.

Nell Baker, a graduate student, placed runner-up in the 5,000 in 17:33.32, finishing 2.45 seconds behind WWU’s Ashley Reeck. Originally from Washington, Baker’s placement is the highest by a UAA woman in the event since Emmah Chelimo of Kenya won the event in 2020. Baker finished fifth in the 3,000 (10:16.79).

Haines’ Avery Williamson, Oregon’s Tressa Wood and Palmer’s Sofija Spaić also contested the 3K/5K double. Williamson made her debut at the five-kilometer distance, recording a lifetime best of 18:38.61 to place 11th, while Wood finished ninth (18:24.01) and Spaić was 14th (19:22.68), logging a personal best. Williamson returned the next day to collect her second personal best, this time in the 3,000 (10:36.78), followed by Wood (10:41.73), Soldotna’s Jordan Strausbaugh in her debut (10:49.91), and Spaić (11:12.60), who recorded her second personal best.

Strausbaugh also represented the green and gold in the mile (5:18.75) and 800 (2:21.78).

Spain’s Blanca De Arvizu Sarrias led the Seawolves with a third-place finish in the 60 hurdles, running 8.83 seconds — the second-best time in program history only trailing Anchorage’s Rosie Smith (8.66). Germany’s Liv Heite finished fifth (8.90) and the Netherlands’ Mette Van der Meer (8.92).

Germany’s Vivien Liessfeld collected a pair of third-place finishes. The freshman competed in the pentathlon, amassing 3,125 points to become the No. 5 performer in program history, before doubling back in the long jump (18-0.5).

Sitka’s Joei Vidad placed fourth in the 400 (58.05), moving to No. 6 in program history, while Blanca De Arvizu Sarrias placed fifth (58.15, UAA No. 7). The duo teamed up with Anchorage’s Sophia Cvancara and Jess Chisar to finish seventh (3:55.14, UAA No. 7).

Anchorage’s Mikayla Mader rounded out the field, placing ninth in the high jump (4-9.75).

The Seawolves finished fifth with 58 points, while Western Washington completed the team sweep with 143 points.

Also competing at the GNAC Championships was Palmer’s Sophie Wright.

The Western Washington junior placed third in the mile (4:59.09) and fifth in the 800 (2:15.92) to score 10 points for her team. Wright’s rise has been particularly impressive as she is a consistent yet versatile performer, competing year-round and peaking multiple times per season.

Four days after the conference meet, Wright joined her teammates at the Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet, this time in the distance medley relay. She led off on the 1,200-meter leg in 3:29 — an average pace of 4:40 per mile. The Viking handed the baton to the 400 leg, followed by the 800 and 1,600 legs. The relay finished in 11:27.45, lopping over 13 seconds from the program record, which ranks No. 6 in Division II this season.

One year prior, Wright the Vikings were one spot shy of qualifying for nationals in the event; however, this season they will get a chance to line up against the nation’s best at the Mar. 8-9 national meet in Pittsburg, Kan.

Sophie Wright (third from left) poses with her teammates after the distance medley relay. Photo by WWU Athletics

Wasilla’s Cort Sandefur and Sitka’s Silas Demmert also competed at the conference meet. Sandefur, an MSU-Billings sophomore, recorded a personal best in the shot put (42-6.25) while also competing in the weight throw (45-5.25). Demmert, a Seattle Pacific freshman, ran a leg on the sixth-place distance medley relay and also competed in the 3,000 (9:15.28).

At the RMAC Championships, four Alaskans represented well in the distance races.

Anchorage’s Kaleb Beloy led his team to a runner-up finish in the distance medley relay. The CSU-Pueblo junior ran the 1,200-meter leg of the relay, which finished four seconds behind Colorado Christian.

Four seconds and one spot behind the ThunderWolves was Anchorage’s Brady Burrough and his Fort Lewis squad. The sophomore and former South High teammate of Beloy ran the 800-meter leg, helping his team to a third-place showing.

Also in the relay race was Anchorage’s Sebastian Szweda Mittelstadt, who helped the Westminster (Utah) team to a program record and sixth-place finish.

Brady Burrough (2350) and Kaleb Beloy (2331) pose by the podium after the distance medley relay. Photo by CSU-Pueblo Athletics

Szweda Mittelstadt returned to the track, placing seventh in the 800 (1:56.55) and running a leg on the 4×400 relay. Beloy placed ninth in the 3,000 (8:33.62), while Burrough placed 11th in the 800 (1:57.88).

Homer’s Brooke Miller won her section of the 800 finals in 2:16.05. The Colorado Mesa junior placed eighth overall and reset the program record in the process. Since the meet was held at 3,600 feet elevation, the time converts to approximately 2:14 at sea level.

In addition to UAA’s four conference titles, four other Alaskans became conference champions.

Eagle River’s Brooklynn Gould shined at the inaugural Peach Belt Conference Championships.

The Embry-Riddle junior won the long jump (18-2.5), placed runner-up in the high jump (5-1.75) and 60 hurdles (9.18), placed fourth in the 400 (58.60) and finished fifth in the shot put (32-11). Her performance at the championships earned her Outstanding Field Athlete of the Year, in addition to collecting personal bests in the 60 hurdles and 400. Gould who normally competes in the multi-events, sits tied for No. 19 in the pentathlon in Division II this season.

Adarra Hagelund

Soldotna’s Adarra Hagelund continued business as usual at the NSAA Indoor Championships.

The Dickinson State sophomore won her signature event, the high jump, after clearing 5-7.75 — her second-highest career mark. The mark was 4.75 inches higher than her nearest competitor and included a perfect score sheet before attempting 5-10 twice. Hagelund, who still holds the NAIA lead in the event, also placed fourth in the triple jump (34-0.25) and eighth in the long jump (15-6), recording personal bests in both.

After compiling 260 points, the Dickinson State Blue Hawks collected their sixth-consecutive team title, winning by a whopping 58 points.

Joining Hagelund at the championships were teammates Galen Brantley III and Dylan Dahlgren, both hailing from Soldotna. Brantley placed third in the shot put (51-6.5) and seventh in the weight throw with a personal best (51-10). Dahlgren placed third in the weight throw (55-11.75) and fifth in the shot put (48-10.75), recording personal bests in both events. Brantley currently ranks 11th in the NAIA for shot put this season, while Dahlgren sits 33rd in the weight throw.

The NAIA Indoor National Championships are slated to begin on Feb. 29 in Brookings, S.D.

Fairbanks’ Shane Fisher helped his team to a title in the distance medley relay at the Ohio Valley Conference Championships.

The Little Rock freshman led off the relay which finished in 10:01.68, narrowly edging Eastern Illinois. Fisher also competed in the mile (4:22.65) before joining his team in celebrating the program’s first-ever indoor conference team title.

Eagle River’s Emily Walsh made the most of her first Great Midwest Conference Championships in two years, helping her team to a title in the distance medley relay.

The Cedarville sophomore led off the relay which finished in 11:47.20, bettering Ashland University by three seconds and posting the No. 6 time in program history. Walsh also placed fourth in the mile (5:04.44), improving by five spots since her previous GMAC showing.

Emily Walsh (first from right) poses with her DMR teammates. Photo by Cedarville Athletics

Other notable indoor track and field performance from Alaskans:

  • Two Rivers’ Riley Knott set three personal bests at the Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet. The Cal-Berkeley competed in the heptathlon (5,147 points), which ranks No. 9 in program history. En route to his multi-event high score, Knott also set personal bests in the pole vault (14-7.25) and 1,000 (3:03.29).
  • Soldotna’s Cody Nye was victorious at the Gene Glader Classic and fared well at the UMAC Championships. The Minnesota-Morris senior won the shot put (51-6.25) before placing runner-up in the shot put (45-5.25) and third in the weight throw (46-10.25) at his conference meet.
  • Nikiski’s Kaitlyn Johnson claimed her first collegiate victory at the George Fox Indoor #2 meet. The George Fox senior won the weight throw (48-3.25), bettering her nearest competitor by over five feet and setting a personal best by nearly four feet.
  • Craig’s Rogan Hanson set a personal best at the Wittenberg Collegiate Invite. The Ohio Dominican freshman competed in the mile (4:35.48), improving by 7.64 seconds.
  • Anchorage’s Lucy Young set a personal best at the Navy Select, before placing at the CAA Championships. The William & Mary junior sliced 2.68 seconds from her mile (5:02.33), in addition to running a leg on the runner-up distance medley relay and fifth-place 4×400.

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