TUCSON, Ariz. – On a windy, 50-degree afternoon in Tucson the NAU swimming & diving team came up just one point short against Oregon State in a 147-146 loss and fell to No. 6 Arizona 221-76 in a challenging double-dual against PAC-12 competition.
"We didn't really set our lineup to try to win a dual meet; we set our lineup to see people swim certain things," said NAU head coach Andy Johns. "It would have been nice to have beaten Oregon State but all things considered I'll take the one point loss. You just want to see people give a great effort and have a great attitude and I think across the board we had that."
The Lumberjack effort was led in the pool by freshman Ellie Morrissey who won two events over Oregon State. Swimming the event for the first time as a collegiate athlete, Morrissey finished fifth overall in the 200 freestyle in 1 minute, 56.39 seconds to finish ahead of the top OSU swimmer. She followed with a time of 52.99 in the 100 free to again earn a win over the Beavers and finished second to OSU in the 200 IM in 2:10.66.
To close the meet Morrissey swam the anchor leg following teammates Kelsey Loy, Kendall Brown, and Emma Lowther to finish ahead of Oregon State in the 400 free relay in 3:35.71. Brown was also the top NAU finisher in the 1000 free in 10:24.40 and the 500 free in 5:06.39 and Loy had the best NAU 50 free time at 24.62. Junior Rachel Palmer had the best individual overall NAU finish in the meet as she placed third in the 200 butterfly in 2:06.79 while she also had team-best finishes in the 100 fly and 200 backstroke.
On the diving boards the Lumberjacks were led by senior Kristy Ardavanis, who placed second on 1-meter with a score of 262.05 to finish ahead of two Arizona divers. Ardavanis followed with a third place finish on 3-meter at 271.25 while junior Gwen Smithberg placed fourth on both 1-meter and 3-meter with scores of 247.20 and 240.35, respectively.
After their second week-long training camp and competition over the last three weeks, the Lumberjacks will return to Flagstaff as they continue to prepare for the WAC Championships at the end of February.
"We have people doing lifetime bests, people doing in-season bests, and some that aren't swimming very well, and I think that's just to be expected at this time of the year based on our heavy training," said Johns. "All-in-all I'm pretty pleased with where we are and we're doing what we need to be doing."
The Lumberjacks will host their final home meet of the season on Jan. 19 when they will face Colorado State. NAU seniors Ardavanis, Loy, Fi Connell, and Danielle Palbykin will be honored during their final home event.