PULLMAN, Wash. – NAU junior Jordan Burnes and freshman Ellie Morrissey each won two events and a short-handed Lumberjacks squad had a chance to win going into the final events of the meet before Washington State held on for a 146-116 win on Friday evening in Pullman, Wash. The dual, which only contained swimming as the Cougars don't have a diving team, was NAU's first loss of the season after a 3-0 start in dual competition.
"We had a chance to win with two races to go and for us to be in that position with some injuries and illnesses was great," NUA head coach Andy Johns said. "We had a lot of adversity today but the girls were just super tough."
NAU was competing without the services of senior backstroker Fi Connell, among others, and fell behind early as the Cougars won the first four events of the meet. Burnes got the first Lumberjack win as she took the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.59 with teammate Stirling Smith finishing just behind in 1:06.67 to take second. Junior Rachel Palmer followed with a winning time of 2:06.27 in the 200 butterfly before Morrissey won consecutive races, taking the 50 freestyle in 23.96 and the 100 free in 52.31.
After the four straight Lumberjack event wins the Cougars came back to win the 200 back before Burnes earned her second win in taking the 200 breast in 2:22.86 with Smith again place second. NAU then got another event win as junior Emma Lowther won the 500 free in 5:06.71, but the Cougars responded to close the meet with wins in the 100 fly, 400 IM, and 400 free relay to edge the Lumberjacks.
The Lumberjacks will be right back in the pool at 10:30 a.m Saturday at WAC foe Idaho. The divers will rejoin the swimmers as NAU completes a tough back-to-back and looks to score a dual win over the Vandals for the seventh consecutive season.
"We're going to be challenged tomorrow by a fresh Idaho team and we've got a short turnaround so we have to come back and be just as tough tomorrow," said Johns. "We're looking forward to the challenge and I'm super proud of all the girls and their efforts tonight against a really tough Washington State team."