OGDEN, Utah – She garnered four Big Sky Athlete of the Week honors during the indoor track and field season, so it is only natural that Northern Arizona's Brooke Andersen—arguably the best thrower in conference history—take home this week's AOTW accolade after her performance over the weekend. Joining Andersen is fellow throws teammate Adam Keenan on the men's side, who also opened the season on a high note.
Because she redshirted the 2016 outdoor campaign, last Friday's UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational was the first competition Andersen has represented NAU at in almost two years. She didn't waste any time, though, penciling her name into the conference record books. Officially, the redshirt-junior from Vista, Calif., logged a 221-03 (67.43m) toss on her second attempt of the day which broke the old conference-best mark by over four feet.
Andersen, also the conference's weight throw record holder, went onto win the event Friday—marking her ninth-career victory in the hammer. Additionally, she ranks No. 2 in the NCAA behind Arizona State's Maggie Ewen.
Keenan also pieced together a solid performance Friday at the UC Irvine Invite, registering a first-place victory of his own with a meet-best 225-02 (68.64m) throw. Keenan, who broke the conference record last season in this event at Big Sky Championships, claims the nation's top mark so far this outdoor season. He ranks No. 1 in the NCAA by over five feet.
While it is early, we would be remised not to at least think about Andersen and Keenan's potential for NCAA Championships in June. Contextually, Keenan competed there in 2016 and secured a first-team All-American performance for NAU (7th—227-10). That was both the best placement and mark in the history of the conference at NCAA's.
On the women's side, the Big Sky's best performance ever in the NCAA hammer throw competition came from Idaho State's Maureen Griffin, who slung a 209-7 mark for third-place in 2002. In NAU history, the highest finish came from Anna Soderberg in 1997 at 10th place, while Lauren Stuart turned in the best tally ever at 202-7 in 2014.