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Cross Country to Compete in ASU Invitational and Cowboy Jamboree

Cross Country to Compete in ASU Invitational and Cowboy Jamboree

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Coming off of a two-week break, the Northern Arizona cross country teams hit the road as they take part in two meets this weekend. The squad will split up, as half of the team will go down to compete in the ASU Invitational in Tempe on Friday, while the others head to Stillwater, Okla., to race in the Cowboy Jamboree Saturday.

“For the ASU Invitational, we will be sending some girls down there to race as individuals since we won’t have enough to field a team,” said Interim Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Eric Heins. “It is a nice option for us to be able to send them down there. We will have five guys who will field a team for that race and essentially be our ‘B squad’ for the weekend.”

Representing NAU at the ASU Invitational on the women’s side will be sophomores Gabi Longoria-Barillas and Lisette Michaels, freshman Lyndsey Rakestraw and junior Amanda Griggs. The five runners fielding the men’s team will consist of seniors Dan Lanzilotti and Simon Gilna, junior Kam Holbrook and freshmen Joe Withers and Darius Terry.

For those headed to Oklahoma, Heins feels that the Cowboy Jamboree is one race that is a good barometer to see how strong your team is at this point in the season.

“I believe that in order to compete against the best, you have to run against the best,” said Heins. “It is going to be a loaded field this weekend, which I think is good for us to go and see some really good competition after training hard for these past couple of weeks. It will be a good test for both of the men’s and women’s teams.”

Hitting the course Saturday morning in Stillwater for the men will be juniors Ben Ashkettle, Jason Pedersen and Jordan Chipangama, sophomores Andrew Belus, Diego Estrada and Ahmed Osman and freshman Tim Freriks. This will be Ashkettle’s first race of his junior campaign.

Trying to defend their title from last year, the women’s team will consist of seniors Veronica Pohl and Nell Rojas, junior Astrid Leutert, sophomores Kortnee Burton, Eliza Gawryluk and Haley Lawrence and freshman Torin Shriver.
Last year in Stillwater, the women came away with the title and the men claimed second place. Pohl finished the women’s race fourth overall, and Leutert, Rojas and Lawrence all finished in the top 20.

The competition in Saturday’s races will be fierce, as the men will go up against second-ranked Oklahoma State, No. 13 William and Mary and Adams State, the top-ranked Division II program. While the competition for the women won’t be quite as strong, the Lumberjacks will still be competing against some of the top programs in the Midwest.