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Brooklynn Gould, Cole Nash and Joshua Caleb win conference titles, qualify for D2 nationals with Kaleb Beloy

by | May 17, 2024 | Cover Story, Running, Track and Field, UAA

Embry-Riddle’s Brooklynn Gould competes in the javelin. Photo by Jake Howard.

Brooklynn Gould’s first year at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University could not have gone smoother.

After breaking the program record in the heptathlon twice, collecting two outdoor conference titles, and helping the Eagles sweep the team titles, the junior from Eagle River will face the nation’s best at the national championships.

Gould, who spent her first three years at North Dakota, transferred to Embry-Riddle and made an immediate impact on the program.

After winning and setting a program record in her first competition with the Eagles, the former Chugiak High star showed no signs of slowing down as she continued to place high and has gone 5-for-5 in multi-event competitions.

It was her performance at the Bryan Clay Invitational that catapulted the Embry-Riddle newcomer into the rankings, scoring 5,157 points in the heptathlon and cementing her spot among the top 16 performers in Division II this season.

Two weeks later Gould was back on top of the podium, winning the heptathlon at the Peach Belt Conference Championships in a championship record 4,903 points, leading the Eagles to a 1-2-3 finish in the event. She followed up the performance with a win in the high jump (5-0.5), placed runner-up in the long jump (17-11.5) on her first and only jump, and finished sixth in the shot put (34-3.5).

Gould’s 31 points earned her Outstanding Field Athlete of the Year and overall Track and Field Athlete of the Year honors. The junior helped Embry-Riddle dominate in collecting their sixth-straight team title, accumulated a total 353.5 points — a whopping 244.5 points ahead of runner-up Clayton State.

Gould currently sits 14th among accepted entries into the national meet, where she will compete in one week.

The NCAA Division II Outdoor Track & Field Championships are slated for May 23-25 in Emporia, Kan.

UAA’s Cole Nash, Vivien Liessfeld, and Joshua Caleb. Photos by GNAC Sports / UAA Athletics.

At the GNAC Championships, UAA’s Vivien Liessfeld, Joshua Caleb, and Cole Nash took home titles, while Caleb lowered two more program records.

Vivien Liessfeld of Germany won the heptathlon with 4,639 points, which ranks fourth in program history. The freshman trailed slightly after day one, overtaking the lead to win by more than 200 points. Liessfeld became the third Seawolf to win the heptathlon, as UAA has won the event five times. Liessfeld also placed third in the long jump (18-1) and ran a leg on the fourth-place 4×100 relay.

Joshua Caleb of Nigeria won the 100 in a blazing 10.28 seconds to improve his previous best and program record by 0.06 seconds. Caleb became the fourth Seawolf to win the 100, as UAA has won the event five times. While the mark was wind-aided, it was under the NCAA wind limit and currently sits at No. 15 among DII performers this season. The freshman phenom also clocked 21.04 seconds in the 200, obliterating the program record held by Palmer’s David Registe (21.44) from 2011 in the prelims, though he did not contest the event in the finals.

Caleb, who holds a total of six program records (60, 100, 200i, 200, 400 & 4×100), will compete in the 400 at the national championships. His time of 46.73 seconds at the Ralph Vernacchia Invite bettered Eagle River’s Ethan Hewitt’s record (47.51) from 2011 and currently ranks 14th among accepted entries.

Cole Nash of Colorado ran tactically to collect his second career title in the 5,000 (14:38.37) and sixth total GNAC title. Nash is the fifth Seawolf to win the 5,000 and third to win the event twice, joining Kodiak’s Dylan Anthony and Micah Chelimo, as UAA has won the event nine times. After an injury-plagued year, Nash returned to form in the outdoor season, clocking 13:55.71 at the Stanford Invitational. The junior and three-time All-American narrowly qualified for the national meet in the event as the 19th and final accepted entry.

Other notable GNAC results from the Green and Gold squad:

  • Alexandra Otto placed runner-up in the 5,000 (18:00.13), followed by Soldotna’s Jordan Strausbaugh in fifth (18:19.86) and Haines’ Avery Williamson in 16th (19:03.08)
  • Liv Heite placed runner-up in the 100 hurdles (14.28), followed by Anchorage’s Mikayla Mader in fifth (14.61) and Mette van der Meer in sixth (14.63)
  • Marc Mercier placed runner-up in the long jump (23-2) on his final jump
  • Chugiak’s Anders Larsen placed third in the decathlon (6,230) and ran a leg on the third-place 4×400 relay
  • Kevin Angarita took third in the 400 (48.94) and fifth in the 200 (21.78)
  • Michael Zapherson placed third in the 1,500 (3:54.37), followed by Zachary Kohler in sixth (3:56.90) and Anchorage’s Ty Elliott in 10th (4:00.29)
  • Liv Heite placed fourth in the 400 hurdles (1:04.17), followed by Blanca de Arvizu Sarrias in eighth (1:07.14)
  • Ries Tveit finished sixth in the 3,000 steeplechase (9:38.30)
  • Anchorage’s Eric Bushnell finished seventh in the discus (138-1)
  • George Payne finished seventh in the 10,000 (32:30.38)
  • Haines’ Avery Williams finished eighth in the 3,000 steeplechase (11:42.14), followed by Palmer’s Sofija Spaić in 13th (12:21.65)
  • Anchorage’s Mikayla Mader finished eighth in the high jump (5-1.75)
  • Jess Chisar finished eighth in the 800 (2:28.19)

Palmer’s Sophie Wright (WWU), Wasilla’s Cort Sandefur (MSUB) and Sitka’s Silas Demmert (SPU) also competed at the GNAC Championships, all bettering their previous conference performances.

Wright collected a pair of podium finishes, placing runner-up in the 1,500 (4:40.41) and third in the 800 (2:15.25) — her highest individual GNAC finishes. The junior helped Western Washington complete a historic team title sweep, going 6-for-6 across cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

Sandefur placed fifth in the discus (138-6), 12th in the hammer throw (129-11) and 14th in the shot put (39-9.25). The sophomore’s showing in the discus marks his highest placement at the GNAC Championships.

Demmert made his outdoor conference debut, finishing 13th in the steeplechase (10:22.42). The true freshman completed year-round and represented the Falcons in all three GNAC Championships, earning his highest individual placing at the outdoor championships.

Four Alaskans competed at the RMAC Championships, with Anchorage’s Kaleb Beloy officially qualifying for nationals in the steeplechase two weeks later.

Beloy, who placed third at the championships, continued to bet on himself after a mid-race fall slightly altered his initial race goals. While the CSU-Pueblo junior set an altitude-adjusted personal best of 8:57, the time would end up being on the bubble for nationals. The ThunderWolf returned to the track one week later at the Portland Twilight where he won in 9:03.07 but did not improve his time. During his final attempt at the Franson Last Chance meet, Beloy placed runner-up in 8:51.37, setting the program record and punching his ticket to nationals. The junior currently ranks ninth among accepted entries.

CSU-Pueblo’s Kaleb Beloy (2831) leaps over the water barrier during the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Photo by CSU-Pueblo Athletics

Homer’s Brooke Miller had her strongest performance yet at the RMAC Championships, placing fourth in the 800 (2:11.87) in her outdoor conference debut after setting the then-program record of 2:11.32 in the prelims. The Colorado Mesa redshirt sophomore contributed to the Mavericks’ runner-up finish behind Colorado School of Mines, with 123 points. Miller reset the program record two more times, running 2:10.27 at the Franson Last Chance meet before clocking 2:09.79 two days later. The time moves Miller up to No. 9 on the Alaska all-time list among known performers.

Alaska Women’s All-Time 800m

  1. Kaarin Knudson, 2:04.52 (6/97)
  2. Vanessa Aniteye, 2:04.59 (7/23)
  3. Danielle McCormick, 2:05.00 (4/19)
  4. Sarah Reese, 2:06.19 (5/04)
  5. Tanner Ealum, 2:06.64 (2/20)
  6. Caitlin Reese, 2:06.69 (3/04)
  7. Ivy O’Guinn, 2:09.34 (5/13)
  8. Morgan Dampier, 2:09.78 (2/13)
  9. Brooke Miller, 2:09.79 (5/24)
  10. Cynthia Morman, 2:09.86 (5/98)

Anchorage’s Brady Burrough competed in the middle-distance double at the RMAC Championships, placing fifth in the 1,500 (3:51.02) and eighth in the 800, after clocking 1:52.55 in the prelims to reset the program record. The Fort Lewis junior also established personal bests in both events, shaving nearly two seconds in the 1,500 and 0.22 seconds in the 800.

Anchorage’s Sebastian Szweda Mittelstadt competed in three events at the RMAC Championships. The Westminster Utah senior finished 11th in both the 1,500 (3:55.82) and the steeplechase (9:43.45), setting personal bests and program records in the process. After setting a personal best in the prelims, Szweda Mittelstadt became the first Westminster athlete to qualify for the RMAC finals. The soccer player turned track star owns program records in the 1,500, indoor mile, outdoor mile, steeplechase and distance medley relay.

Fort Lewis’ Brady Burrough and Westminster’s Sebastian Szweda Mittelstadt after the RMAC 1,500. Photo by Westminister Athletics.

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