Lumberjacks Head West for Aztec Invitational

Lumberjacks Head West for Aztec Invitational

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.- After sweeping the competition at the George Kyte Classic earlier this month, the Northern Arizona cross country teams look to take their early season success into San Diego, Calif., as they take part in the Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State Saturday.

Interim Track and Field Director Eric Heins is looking forward to this weekend’s race in San Diego, where he hopes to apply different strategies for his teams.

“What we will have our top group do is actually go out and run the first mile or two slower so that they find themselves in the back of the pack and have to work their way up,” said Heins. “I think that will prepare us for the larger meets such as Pre-Nationals where you could be having the race of your life but find yourself in 50th place. We want to get comfortable racing with people around us.”

Last year at the same event, both the men’s and women’s teams recorded second place finishes with BYU taking the men’s title and AZUSA Pacific claiming the top spot for the women.

The men return to San Diego with five members who ran in the Aztec Invitational last year. Of those returning, junior Jason Pedersen recorded the top time (25:32) and came in 17th overall. Senior Simon Gilna (29), junior Eric Lynch (50), sophomore Andrew Belus (64) and junior Kam Holbrook (108) also return to San Diego looking to take the men’s title.

Senior Veronica Pohl busted onto the cross country scene last year at this event with a third place finish in the 8,000m race (17:41). It was her first competition as a Lumberjack.

Senior Nell Rojas followed up Pohl with a 13th place finish of her own (18:20). Sophomores Haley Lawrence (17) and Kortnee Burton (41), and junior Nikki Codd (48) also return to compete for the top spot this year.