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Cross Country to Host George Kyte Classic Saturday

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The 2009 men’s and women’s Northern Arizona cross country teams begin their quest to Terra Haute, Ind. Saturday when they host the George Kyte Classic at Buffalo Park. The first race of the afternoon begins with the women taking to the course at 1:30 p.m. followed by the men at 2:15 p.m.

“We always use the George Kyte as an opener to get our feet wet and to see where we are at in terms of our fitness,” said Interim Track and Field Director Eric Heins. “It also gives those people who have trained all summer to try and make our top 14. It will be a good evaluation of where we are at in the beginning of the season.”

The following teams will be in attendance Saturday afternoon: Arizona, Arizona State, Grand Canyon, Western New Mexico, Scottsdale CC, Pima CC, Mesa CC, Glendale CC and Central Arizona College.

The 2008 George Kyte Classic saw the Lumberjacks sweep the competition, as both the men and women took first place in the event for the second consecutive year.

Senior Nell Rojas was the individual champion on the women’s side finishing the race in 18:26.5. Four of the top-five spots belonged to the Lumberjacks with Haley Lawrence, Vanessa Hancock and Kortnee Burton finishing third through fifth respectively.

On the men’s side, Craig Curley from Pima CC crossed the line first with a time of 25:38.9. Sophomore Ahmed Osman (26:02.2) was the first lumberjack to complete the race, finishing in second. He was followed by Diego Estrada, John Killian, Simon Gilna, Jason Pederson and Andrew Belus to round out the top-seven.

2009 marks the 29th time Northern Arizona cross country hosts the George Kyte Classic. The 2004 race was the first time in the tradition's history that the race was run without the presence of its namesake. The late Dr. George Kyte, Professor Emeritus of History, was a long-time supporter of NAU athletics, in particular the track and field and cross country programs.

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