SAN DIEGO, Calif. – For the second consecutive meet, senior Veronica Pohl helped lead the Northern Arizona cross country teams to capture both titles, as the Lumberjacks swept the field at the 65th annual Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State Saturday morning.
“Both teams went into this with an edge, trying to run with the pack for first third of the race, then run hard for second third,” said Interim Track and Field Director Eric Heins. “They executed the strategy very well. We had really good results off of a hard week of training. I am proud of both teams for executing like we had planned to.”
The women’s squad, led by another first-place run by senior Veronica Pohl, totaled 26 points. Pohl paced the pack and finished with a time of 18:11, 22 seconds better than the second-place finisher.
Trailing behind Pohl, and finishing the race in third, was sophomore Eliza Gawryluk (18:35). The native of Poland was competing in her first race at the collegiate level in the United States. Sophomore Haley Lawrence (18:39), senior Nell Rojas (18:44) and freshman Torin Shriver (19:07) rounded out the top five for the women.
Junior Nikki Codd (24), sophomore Gabi Barillas-Longoria (33) and freshman Lyndsey Rakestraw all competed Saturday morning for the Lumberjacks.
On the men’s side, junior Jordan Chipangama led the Lumberjacks to the men’s title with his first place finish. Chipangama, a recent transfer from Central Arizona College, paced the squad with a time of 25:17 in his first race for NAU.
Sophomores Ahmed Osman (25:34) and Diego Estrada (25:35) followed closely behind Chipangama, finishing in second and third respectively. Junior Jason Pedersen returned to San Diego and finished fourth, 14 spots better than last year. Freshman Darius Terry rounded out the top five for the Lumberjacks with a sixth place finish to give the team 16 points for the race.
Following Heins’ strategy of staying in a pack, Joe Withers, Andrew Belus, Kam Holbrook, Tim Freriks, Eric Lynch and Scott Blair finished in the eight through 13 spots respectively.
Next up for the Lumberjacks, the teams head to the ASU Invitational on Oct. 2 and the Cowboy Jamboree on Oct. 3.