LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Junior Fi Connell won the 200 backstroke with an NCAA 'B' standard time of 1 minute, 58.11 seconds and sophomores Jordan Burnes, Emma Lowther, and Rachel Palmer also won events as NAU dominated the final day of the UNLV Winter Invitational to finish the three-day meet in second place. NAU also had two second place finishes in surpassing New Mexico State to finish behind only host UNLV among the 10 schools competing.
"To end the meet like this and finishing ahead of New Mexico State is great for us," said head coach Andy Johns. "We got better every day, and tonight was really fun. The girls are really excited and it was a great way to finish out the semester."
Monday's finals opened with NAU taking three of the top-four spots in the 1650 freestyle, with Lowther winning in 16:52.08, senior Kristin Jones placing second with a career-best time of 17:14.49, and freshman Caitlin Wright placing fourth in a career-best 17:19.81. Connell won the 200 back by more than two seconds with a season best time to record the first NCAA standard time of the season for NAU, followed by Lumberjack senior Chalene Dirks-Ryan placing third in the 100 free with a career-best time of 52.11.
The Lumberjacks had their second one-two finish in the 200 breaststroke with a pair of career best times, with Burnes winning in 2:18.03 and sophomore Stirling Smith placing second at 2:19.71. In the final individual event of the meet, the 200 butterfly, Palmer nearly broke the school record in finishing first with a career-best time of 2:02.87 with sophomore Andrea Derflinger and Wright placing third and fourth, respectively. The Lumberjacks 'A' squad finished fifth in the 400 free relay with a season-best time of 3:32.80 to close out the meet.
NAU returns to action on Jan. 6 with a multi-dual against Arizona, Oregon State, and New Mexico State in Tucson.