Lumberjacks Capture Rain-Soaked George Kyte Classic Titles

George Kyte Classic Results

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – On a rainy, blustery day at Buffalo Park, the Northern Arizona cross country teams beared the elements to capture the 2009 George Kyte Classic men’s and women’s titles.

Both teams collected victories over in-state foes Arizona, Arizona State and Central Arizona.

Senior Veronica Pohl captured the women’s individual title when she finished the 5,000m race in 17:16, and sophomore Diego Estrada took the men’s title with a time of 24:57, 1:11 seconds better then his time last year.

Interim Track and Field Director Eric Heins was pleased with what he saw from the women in their first race of the year.

“It was a good race for the women. I was hoping to see them a little more packed up, but I think Veronica got a little excited with two other competitors in front of her,” said Heins. “They went well together through the mile. Overall, I saw a lot of good things from the girls and they were very competitive.”

The men’s performance also gave Heins a lot of confidence as they begin the season.

“The guys who ran in uniform did a great job of staying packed up just like we wanted to,” noted Heins. “They ran that perfectly. I think that is a good opener for us. Next we head to San Diego, so we should have more people in uniform then.”

With the threat of rain looming, the women hit the course just before 1:30 p.m. Following up the impressive run of Pohl were sophomores Kortnee Burton (17:54) and Haley Lawrence (18:25), who finished the race fourth and 10th respectively. Rounding out the scoring for the Lumberjacks were juniors Amanda Griggs (18:27) and Nikki Codd (18:34).

A third of the way through the men’s race, a downpour ensued, leaving the competitors soaked as they finished the course.

Andrew Belus was the first Lumberjack to cross the finish line as Estrada ran unattached in the event. The junior finished the race in 25:39, over a minute better than his time in last year. Juniors Jason Pederson (26:00) and Simon Gilna (26:01) followed up Belus with third and fourth place finishes. Eric Lynch (26:22) and Kam Holbrook (26:34) rounded out the top-five finishers for the Lumberjacks, as the juniors finished the race seventh and eighth respectively.

Estrada was very pleased with the effort he put forth capturing the men’s title.

“It got a bit competitive out there, but I kept the pace under control,” said Estrada. “I have to say the race went well. I don’t think I took it to the well, it just felt pretty comfortable. The other guys looked good too. Right now everyone is doing there work and they are ready to go.”

The Lumberjacks hit the road for the remainder of the season, with both teams set to compete at the Aztec Invitational, hosted by San Diego State on September 19.