TUCSON, Ariz. – The NAU cross country teams placed three runners total in the top-five Friday at the Dave Murray Invitational in Tucson. The Lumberjack women were paced by Rochelle Kanuho's third-place finish to come in second as a team, and John Yatsko (4th) and Chris Ganem (5th) paced the men to a third-place team finish.
"Our teams were very competitive across the board today," Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Eric Heins said. "For our guys to be running without their top six and still have two place in the top five overall is great, and having Rochelle [Kanuho] finish ahead of some of the University of Arizona's top runners is also encouraging."
The race marked Kanuho's second top-10 in as many races. She adds Friday's finish to a sixth-place mark at the George Kyte Classic two weeks ago.
The Lumberjack women will be looking to post more high finishes this season, especially after top-15 finishes from first-time competitors Agnes Laurent and Caroline Hogardh, who finished behind Kanuho in 11th and 13th, respectively, and senior Haley Lawrence, who came in 14th.
"The women's team is progressing well already," said Heins. "To have Agnes, Caroline, and Haley all finish in the top fifteen is a good sign for us."
Freshman Kerri Lenihan finished in 19th place and rounded out the scoring for the NAU women (45). Also running for the Lumberjacks were freshman Sarah Baker (20th), Kylee Keiser (23rd), and Shayla Freeman (27th). Veteran runners sophomore Sarah Raber (26th), and senior Lisette Michaels (33rd) completed the team effort.
On the men's side, Yatsko, a senior, and Ganem, a freshman, were both incidentally racing in their first collegiate cross-country meets in Lumberjack gold. Yatsko has competed in the 800-meter run for NAU's track and field program for the past three seasons, while Ganem was making his debut in collegiate athletics altogether.
""It was great to see guys on our team pushing for the front all race," said Yatsko. "Chris [Ganem] made me work hard all the way to the finish with the way he ran today."
Ganem, a native of Castle Rock, Colo., surprised even himself in his college debut race.
"I just tried to keep a good pace through the first mile," said Ganem. "It's definitely a lot different than high school, but running today was a great first experience."
Rounding out the scoring for the men was sophomore Cody Reed in 13th, sophomore Daniel Filipcik in 30th, and junior Miles Kloer in 35th. Also finishing for the Lumberjack men was sophomore Caleb Potts in 39th and freshman Ian Cable in 81st.
The Lumberjacks have two weeks off before they travel to Stillwater, Okla. for the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree on Oct. 1.