PALO ALTO, Calif. – As snow flurries dusted Flagstaff Friday, six Northern Arizona University distance athletes were burning up Cobb Track on the campus of Stanford University and setting fires to old-personal bests late into the California night.
For the Lumberjacks, the day began all the way back at 12:58 p.m. when Maggie Carruth notched fourth place in the fifth section of the women's 1500m race with a 4:26.34 time. Carruth's mark bested the PR she set at the UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational to open the 2017 outdoor season by over five seconds.
While the season is young, Carruth has pieced together back-to-back impressive performances in the 1500m event, one of which resulted in a victory. Carruth's "bread and butter" mid-distance event coming into the outdoor campaign was the 800m run, but the way she has opened up in the 1500m has to leave one questioning whether or not the event change-up is actually suiting her better.
There was about a six hour layover between races for the Lumberjacks, with Peter Lomong running next at 7:45 p.m. in section three of the men's 5000m event. There, the true sophomore ran a 14:26.97 time for 20th place in that specific section.
Lomong's teammates Geordie Beamish and Nathan Weitz also turned in 5K times for NAU tonight, with Beamish's representing a huge PR for the Havelock North, New Zealand native. In the second section of the 5K race, Beamish registered a 13:53.59 time for third place—over 16 seconds better than his previous career-best.
In fact, leading up to this race, Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Mike Smith said this was the best shape Beamish has been in since he has arrived on campus. Clearly, that sentiment was well-defended tonight at Stanford.
For Weitz, competing in his first race with an NAU jersey on since he ran at NCAA Cross Country Championships in November, the redshirt-senior missed out on a PR by a little over a second with a 13:56.80 mark in the final section of the 5K event.
As if those performances weren't impressive enough, NAU's Matt Baxter and Cory Glines came out and competed in the men's 10K event at 9:34 p.m. for an encore presentation that did not disappoint and was worth the wait.
Baxter, like Carruth and Beamish, crushed his old personal-best with a 28:48.02 time. This was the fifth competitive outdoor 10K race of Baxter's Lumberjack career and in it, he was able to shatter his old PR by over a half minute. That kind of performance really speaks to the inhuman shape and machine-like consistency he personifies every time he laces 'em up for NAU.
Glines raced along side Baxter in the same 10K event tonight, posting a respectable 29:13.14 time—a mere 1.15 second off his PR. For it being Glines' first competitve race since that great day in November when NAU took home its first national championship of any kind, this is certainly a great start to the season for the redshirt-junior.
All results from today's action can be found here.