STILLWATER, Okla. – The Northern Arizona cross country teams returned to action this weekend as the teams divided into two and took part in the ASU Invitational Friday night in Mesa, and the Cowboy Jamboree Saturday morning at Oklahoma State.
Interim Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Eric Heins accompanied the team to Stillwater and saw the No. 5-ranked men’s team claim their third-straight title in as many races this season, edging out No. 13 William and Mary, Adams State and host Oklahoma State. The women finished fourth overall Saturday morning.
"The women didn't run up to par in their race, only Astrid was able to get free of traffic and finish in the top 10,” Heins said. “We emphasized getting out of traffic to the guys, and they did exactly that. They ran strong and were very competitive. I was proud of them for their efforts."
For the second consecutive week, junior Jordan Chipangama claimed the top spot, as he crossed the finish line in a time of 23:44 in the 8,000m event. Chipanagama is excited about the victory, but it was no cakewalk.
"It feels good to win my second straight race,” Chipangama said. “It was a hard race to run. The race was definitely about how we finished and not our start. It was not an easy race because I was trying to learn how the other runners race and I had to race at the same time."
Following Chipangama’s lead, sophomore Diego Estrada claimed his second-straight top-five finish as he crossed the stripe fifth (23:55). Making his season debut, junior Ben Ashkettle finished 13th in the race (24:22.7), edging out sophomore Ahmed Osman by two-tenths of a second (24:22.9). Rounding out the scoring for the Lumberjacks was junior Jason Pedersen, claiming the 19th spot (24:32). Freshman Tim Freriks (38) and senior Simon Gilna (51) also competed Saturday at the Cowboy Jamboree .
For the women, junior Astrid Leutert was the only Lumberjack to finish in the top 10, finishing eighth. Following up Leutert’s efforts were sophomores Haley Lawrence (26) and Kortnee Burton (28), senior Nell Rojas (37), sophomore Eliza Gawryluk (39), freshman Torin Shriver (40) and junior Nikki Codd (84).
Friday down in Mesa, the Lumberjacks sent seven runners to compete in the ASU Invitational. Freshman Darius Terry delivered for the Lumberjacks as he crossed the strip first in 14:14 in the 5,000m event. It was Terry’s second collegiate race after he finished sixth at the Aztec Invitational two weeks ago.
"It was great to see Darius go down and be competitive Friday,” Heins said. “Seeing that depth is great because if someone goes down, we can just plug someone in and still have great results."
Also finishing in the top 10 for the Lumberjacks was junior Kam Holbrook in fourth (14:33), senior Dan Lazillotti in fifth (14:35) and freshman Joe Withers who placed ninth in his first career race (14:51).
The women sent three participants down to Mesa. Freshman Lyndsey Rakestraw finished 13th overall and first for the Lumberjacks in the 5k event (18:03). Sophomore Lisette Michaels took the 20th spot finishing in 18:33, and sophomore Gabi Barillas-Longoria finished 22nd (18:42).
Next up for the Lumberjacks is the Canyon West Classic down in Tempe on Oct. 17.