OGDEN, Utah – For the second time in four years, and the fourth time in school history, the Northern Arizona University Athletics Department swept the Big Sky Men's and Women's All-Sports Trophies, announced by the conference office on Monday. The Lumberjacks won a total of seven Big Sky Conference championships during the 2016-17 academic year and also received strong performances from several other programs.
"It is an honor and a tribute to our student-athletes and coaches to have NAU win both the Men's and Women's All-Sports Trophies," said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Lisa Campos. "Our Lumberjacks won seven Big Sky championships this season and I am very proud of their continuous hard work and dedication."
The Northern Arizona men just edged out Weber State for their fourth consecutive All-Sports trophy. NAU totaled 50 points in the final standings to Weber State's 49.75. The Lumberjack men were bolstered by conference championships in cross country, indoor track & field and tennis in addition to a fourth-place finish in outdoor track & field.
Of course, the men's cross country also powered the Big Sky with the conference's first non-football Division I National Championship this past November. The NCAA National Championship is also the first in school history. The NAU men's fourth straight All-Sports win brings their total up to 14, only trailing Weber State's 16 all-time.
The Northern Arizona women dominated the All-Sports standings with 72 points, safely outdistancing runner-up Sacramento State's 61 points. The women completed the three-for-three sweep this year with Big Sky titles in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field along with an undefeated championship in tennis. The Lumberjacks also had top-four finishes in soccer, volleyball and golf.
The women's victory was their seventh all-time All-Sports Trophy win and their first since the 2013-14 season – the last time NAU swept both awards. The 'Jacks also swept both following the 1996-97 and 1999-2000 seasons.
Including the swimming & diving team's WAC Championship – which does not figure into the Big Sky All-Sports standings – eight of NAU's 15 programs won conference championships this academic year.
This year's All-Sports Awards were determined differently than in years past. Indoor and outdoor track & field scores were averaged into one score, while the final tallies were also averaged by the number of conference sports the institution participated in.
The All-Sports Awards play an integral role in the race for the Big Sky Conference Presidents' Cup, which includes an academic component. Northern Arizona has claimed three Presidents' Cups with the most recent coming in 2013-14.