ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Northern Arizona University track and field team's weekend trip to New Mexico University for the Don Kirby Invitational concluded Saturday afternoon.
Sprinter Ashley Taylor, whose specialty event is the outdoor 400-meter hurdles, crossed over a bit today for the Lumberjack squad, racing as a mid-distance athlete in the 800-meter event. The redshirt-junior from Canada won the event with a personal-best time of 2:12.16 in the third of four heats. Taylor already ranks seventh in the conference this season in the 800m, so an improvement of three seconds could push her up the board depending on how the rest of the conference athletes faired this weekend.
For freshman Parker Joens, the success and progression of his inaugural collegiate season was on display once again in the men's shot put event. Each week, Joens has successively topped the previous week's mark and that was no different today, recording a 53-1.50 (16.19m) throw from the shot circle. Already ranked in the top-10 on the Big Sky's performance list this year, Joens has shown no signs of slowing down leading up to conference championships in two weekends.
Fellow freshman teammate Khalil Doresy competed in the men's 60-meter hurdle semi-finals today, hustling his way to an 8.29 time in the second of three heats. Even though that time was better than the one he logged during the preliminary round yesterday, he missed the cut for the finals race by 0.17 of a second.
It was an even closer margin for sprinter Isaiah Kennedy, who missed out on the 60-meter dash finals by 0.05 of a second. Kennedy, the Big Sky's runner-up at conference championships last year in the 60m, recorded a 6.86 time in the prelims today.
For distance athlete Cade Burks, it was a career-best day in the mile. The freshman from Gilbert, Ariz., finished fifth in his heat and 20th overall today in Albuquerque with a 4:23.65 time.
The entire Lumberjack squad returns home next weekend for the fourth and final indoor meet of the season they host: the NAU Tune-Up. That meet will be a one-day event, happened Friday, Feb. 17. As of today, field events are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. MT, while track events get going at 4:40 p.m. MT.