FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The message this season for the Northern Arizona University track and field team is to enjoy the moment and to progress each and every week, and they accomplished both Saturday at the Lumberjack Team Challenge.
In total, the Lumberjacks boasted 11 event victories, highlighted once again by thrower Brooke Andersen and jumps/hurdles newcomer Khalil Dorsey.
"Today was a step in the right direction," said Director of Track and Field Mike Smith. "We had some incredible individual efforts that we want to continue to build on, and we also saw areas where we can grow, improve and get better. Overall, though, this was an exciting experience for me, and I'm looking forward to how we carry ourselves and respond the rest of the year."
As mentioned above, Andersen—coming off an NAU record-setting performance last Friday—did herself one better and topped that mark in the weight throw today, muscling a 67-04.50 (20.54m) last-chance bomb that landed just short of the Big Sky Conference record. With her throw, Andersen is 2-for-2 this season in event victories and moves up to second place all-time in the conference. Already seventh in the nation because of last week's throw, Andersen appears to be moving up in the NCAA rankings come next week.
The jumps unit has a new threat, and his name is Khalil Dorsey. Dorsey, a freshman who is also a member of the Lumberjack football team, competed in his first collegiate track meet today, winning both the long jump (23-02.50, 7.07m) and 60m hurdle (8.20) events. In fact, that mark in the long jump was the furthest distance an NAU athlete has leapt since the 2013 outdoor season. As it stands right now, even though the Big Sky event rankings will not be updated until next week, Dorsey's jump would slide into seventh-best this season in the conference—not bad for the new kid.
The sprints unit came to compete Saturday afternoon, winning both the men and women's 4x400m relays to close out the meet while Isaiah Kennedy posted a new personal-best (6.79) en route to a victory in the men's 60m dash. Currently, the NAU school record for the indoor 60m is 6.75, certainly within Kennedy's reach as he is only just getting started in 2017.
Distance athletes Maggie Carruth and Paige Gilchrist also brought there A+ stuff today, as both secured event wins. Carruth's 800m time after altitude conversion came out to be 2:12.36—a new career-best for the indoor junior. Gilchrist, to her credit, created a health lead in the 3000m and (literally) never looked back, finishing first with a 10:11.72 time—nearly 50 seconds better than second-place teammate Mikayla Malaspina (10:51.64).
Other competing teams included UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, Southern Utah and UNLV.
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
Freshman thrower Parker Joens began the day at 8 a.m. in the men's shot tossing a new collegiate PR at 52-0.50 (15.87m) … Sophomore jumps athlete Kaitlyn Wayne, who did not hit 18-0.00 during the entire 2016 season, has now opened up 2017 with back-to-back weeks of 18-plus foot marks in the women's long jump, notching 18-0.50 (5.50m) today … Obang Odol, another sophomore jumps athlete, accomplished something similar to Wayne, surpassing the 2.00m mark in the high jump (6-08.75, 2.05m) for the second-straight week after not doing so once in 2016 … Tiana Hatler-Stefick should not be forgotten, either, as she heaved a PR in the women's weight throw (58-10.25, 17.94m)—good enough for second place … With his Olympian brother and NAU legend Lopez watching in the stands, sophomore distance athlete Peter Lomong ran a 4:20.18 time in the mile event and a 1:53.44 time in the 800m run—both second-place finishes today … Adam Keenan won his second weight throw event of the season and third of his career with a 62-03.00 (18.97m) throw