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Strong Showing for NAU Cross Country at the Cowboy Jamboree

STILLWATER, Okla. - Northern Arizona University's cross country teams competed at the Cowboy Jamboree hosted by Oklahoma State. The Lumberjack men finished second with three runners in the top-10 and the women finished third with two runners in the top-10.

"Oklahoma State is the best in country," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Eric Heins. " So we told the guys to pack up and try to beat them."

The Lumberjack men were led by sophomore Futsum Zienasellassie and senior Brian Shrader who took the four and five spots, respectively. The pair finished just over two seconds apart with Zienasellassie posting a time of 24:30.67 and Shrader a time of 24:32.53.

"Brian and Futsum were right with those Oklahoma State guys at the front," said Heins. "For Futsum to be just a few seconds behind those seniors as a sophomore is great."

Also finishing in the top-10 was junior Caleb Hoover who finished ninth with a time of 24:58.02. Freshman Andy Trouard continues to impress finishing 14th posting a time of 25:06.04 in his first major collegiate race. Also racing for the NAU men were Alejandro Montano (25th), Josh Hardin (27th) and Cody Reed (28th).

"Our guys ran smart," said Heins."We are still working toward Wisconsin so we didn't have all of our top guys but I think we raced well."

Missing from the men's team was 2012 2nd Team All-American Nathan Weitz, 2013 George Kyte Classic champion Matt McElroy and Oklahoma State transfer Korey Krotzer.

The Lumberjack women were led by sophomore Melanie Townsend and freshman Paige Gilchrist. Townsend finished third with a time of 17:47.74 and Gilchrist finished seventh with a time of 18:08.49.

"Its rewarding to see Melanie run so well, she stayed in Flagstaff over the summer to train and it's paying off," said Heins. "Paige is very dedicated and wants to be the best she can be so to see her get rewarded by finishing in the top ten in a meet like this is great and exciting for our team."

The NAU women received good contributions from freshmen Carolyn Bethel and Vanessa Estrada who finished 16th and 19th respectively, in their first major collegiate races. Also racing for the Lumberjack women were Kelly Fruth (25th), Rolonda Jumbo (29th), Caroline Hogardh (35th), Jamie Shrader (40th) and Shayla Freeman (43rd).

The NAU men will compete next at the Adidas Wisconsin Invitational on October 19th and the women will compete at the NCAA Pre-Nationals Meet on the same day.