COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Northern Arizona University's Brooke Andersen capped off an incredible 2017 indoor track and field season at NCAA Championships this afternoon, placing 11th in the women's weight throw event with a meet-best mark of 66-7 (20.29m).
For her efforts, Andersen captured second-team All-American honors in the women's weight event Saturday. Contextually speaking, it was the best throw ever recorded by a Lumberjack athlete at the indoor national meet and the second-best in Big Sky history.
Andersen also became one of two NAU athletes and one of four conference competitors to earn indoor All-American status with her performance today at Texas A&M. The last Lumberjack to secure an All-American accolade in the women's weight at nationals was Anna Soderberg 20 years ago with a fourth-place throw of 64-1.25.
"It's kind of funny because if her first throw wasn't a foul, it would have been a totally different story," said NAU Throws Coach Nathan Ott. "Regardless, I was proud of the way she handled herself and the poise she displayed. What's important to understand is that the weight throw is Andersen's secondary event—with her bread and butter being the hammer—and she was still able to finish as a second-team All-American. I was very proud of what she did today."
The showing Saturday places a cherry on top of an incredible sundae that was Andersen's 2017 indoor season. With the national meet excluded, the native of Vista, Calif., competed in six indoor meets and won five of them—the last of which was the Big Sky Weight Throw Conference Championship.
Additionally, she broke and continued to break the Big Sky women's weight throw record almost every time she threw, settling for a personal best of 70-0.75 (21.66m) at the NAU Tune-Up in February. It was that throw that moved her into the top-10 nationally in 2017.
"I felt really confident out there," said Andersen. "I was loose and ready to go. It would have been awesome if my first throw counted because it went 70-feet or so, but overall it was a great experience. To know I had an 'off-day' and was still able to finish 11th in the country is a great feeling."
"Moving forward, this experience has taught me to be confident in myself. Coach Ott and I talk about this a lot: that every one starts at zero. I just have to put my blinders on and worry about what I'm doing. That's the key, and that's what I tried to do today."
With Andersen's performance, the Lumberjack track and field program can officially close the book on the 2017 indoor season and move to their outdoor season—which begins next Friday, March 17, at the UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational.