Track & Field

Track and Field Sweeps Big Sky Indoor Championships for Second Straight Year

NAU showed up in a big way this weekend as both the men and women won the 2018 Big Sky Indoor Championships

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - For the second consecutive season and 10th time in school history the Northern Arizona University track and field program swept the Big Sky Indoor Conference Championships on Saturday afternoon at the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome.

The storybook season continued for the Lumberjacks who seemed to set new school records and countless personal bests every meet they participated in this season. It was the 20th title in program history on the men's side while the women won their 12th conference crown. Both the men's and women's units were able to put an exclamation point on one of the best indoors seasons in school history.

"Every team is different but this is truly a special group," director of track and field Michael Smith said. "This collection of athletes will never be here in one place again, going for a title like this. That women's team is a historic team and that men's team, the way they did it is just remarkable. They really rose to the occasion and we're just really proud to get a chance to coach a group of young people that respond in that type of way."

"If anyone has trouble defining what team means, look up NAU Track & Field," associate head coach Kenny McDaniel added. "This team displayed togetherness these past two days. We had athletes scoring in events that didn't score 2-3 years ago. I am proud of their overall development to get to this point. I am so proud of this group. They made history. This performance will be talked about for years to come."

The Lumberjack men finished with 137.5 points and the women concluded the meet with 150.  It was the most points scored for a women's unit since Sacramento State won the 2010 conference championships with 167.5. It was the seventh consecutive conference indoor title won by the men and the second straight on the women's side.

Each squad sealed their victory in different ways.

For the Lumberjack women, the meet was never really in doubt as Brooke Andersen started off the day with a Big Sky and school record in the women's weight throw with a toss of 22.25m.

"Usually the first goal for any thrower is to be consistent," throws coach Nathan Ott. "From there a big throw is bound to happen. Brooke was right on the doorstep of 22m for the last few weeks. It was just a matter of time until she broke through. It was great that she was able to do it at conference!"

"It's just a sign of a true champion," Smith added. "The easy part is she's never satisfied but the hard part is she's never satisfied. That throw today set the momentum on that side and opened it up in a big way."

From there NAU watched as Delaney Rasmuseen won the women's mile, Jasmine Malone set new school and conference records in picking up gold in both the 200m (23.75) and 400m (52.39) dashes and Ashley Taylor became conference champion in the 800m race (5:07.63).

"Jasmine's weekend was remarkable," Smith said. "Just historical. It might be one of the biggest Big Sky performances ever. I don't know how you beat that. It's really hard to put into words in what we just witnessed with Jasmine over this 24 hour period."

"Jasmine is a champion and today showed her true skill set," McDaniel added. "She thrives under these conditions. Anytime you break a conference record that is a very special moment."

Nicole Fotinos also secured a bronze in the 200m, silver in the 400m and gold in the 4x400, capping off her senior indoor season with the best 400m time of her career.

Just for good measure, Malone, Taylor, Fotinos and Miracle Onyemaobi closed the meet with a bang as they set the new Big Sky and NAU record in the 4x400m relay (3:40.23).

Andersen was named the Outstanding Performer of the Meet as her mark punched her ticket to the NCAA Indoor National Championships with it sitting as the 7th-best performance in the nation this indoor season.

In terms of advancing to the postseason, Malone sits 9th in the country in the 400m (with an altitude-converted time of 52.60) and could be postseason bound based on the results of conference meets still coming in around the nation. She walked away from the Big Sky Championships with four gold medals, the most for any athlete competing.

Taylor is fully on the bubble in the 800m race and will need some help to get into nationals. Paige Gilchrist is 20th in the country in the mile but could make it to NCAAs in the 5000m as she is currently slotted at No. 13.

The men won the meet in a much different way. While the women picked up victory after victory, the men fought hard through Saturday's events. At one point in time, projections had them falling behind Southern Utah University for the conference title but then a special half hour happened.

"We had a really special 30-minute window in there in which the 800m went our way, the high jump athletes were clearing heights and Kossi Tchenawou in the 200m was huge," Smith said. "In 30 minutes we were able to shift this thing and you could feel the energy change. Our athletes knew, they were excited and knew we were close. Smelling that, that's what makes them great athletes, they just pounced on that energy. That was really awesome moment."

As Tchenawou pulled off a minor upset in the men's 200m dash with the third fastest time in Big Sky history, the high jump duo of Obang Odol, Matthew Kisiel and Trevon Bosley placed fourth, sixth and eighth in the high jump. Ryan Lanley and Cade Burks then raced hard in the men's 800m to cancel out a Thunderbird win in the event.

The meet was then put in the hands of the distance runners who answered the call.

Andy Trouard, who was named the meet's Most Valuable Male Athlete with 21 points across three events, took silver in the men's mile and the combination of Matthew Baxter, Peter Lomong, Blaise Ferro and Trouard went 2, 3, 5 and 6 overall in the 3000m to help the Lumberjacks pull away.

In terms of advancing to the NCAAs, Trouard currently ranks 2nd in the 3000m, 10th in the 5000m and 18th in the men's mile.

Baxter is currently slotted 16th in the 3000m.

No matter the outcome of NCAA qualifiers, this season will go down as one of the best as a complete team in Northern Arizona history.

"Lastly, we could not do this without such an exceptional staff," Smith reflected. "Coach McDaniel, Coach Ott, Coach Cornfield, Coach Townsend and Coach DeLoache. We have such an amazing staff. The reflection from a well-rounded track and field program like this couldn't be done without such exceptional coaches. I feel a lot of gratitude to work with such exceptional coaches."

The Lumberjacks who qualify will get a shot at the NCAA Indoor National Championships at Texas A&M in College Station, TX, March 9-10. The rest of the squad will have to wait until the outdoor season kicks off with Arizona State University's Baldy Castillo Invitational, March 16-17.

NAU Athletes Final Day Results

Women's Weight Throw
1. Brooke Andersen - 22.25m%@$#
8. Sykora Walker - 16.97m
14. Rachel Pott - 16.32m
15. Tiana Hatler-Stefick - 16.31m

Men's Triple Jump
10. Cameron Rayford - 14.32m
18. Steven Hartshorn-West - 13.03m

Men High Jump
4. Obang Odol - 2.06m
6. Matthew Kisiel - 2.03m
8. Trevon Bosley - 2.03m

Women's Mile
1. Delaney Rasmussen - 5:07.63%@
2. Paige Gilchrist - 5:08.12@
4. Pipi Eitel - 5:10.18
6. Kylie Goo - 5:11.87
8. Hannah Behunin - 5:14.65

Men's Mile
2. Andy Trouard - 4:12.30@
4. Peter Lomong - 4:13.71
5. Matthew Baxter - 4:14.33
8. Blaise Ferro - 4:18.75
16. Cade Burks - 4:29.92

Men's 60m Hurdle Finals
8. Khalil Dorsey - 8.44

Women's 400m Dash Final
1. Jasmine Malone - 52.39%@$#
2. Nicole Fotinos - 53.18@
4. Miracle Onyemaobi - 54.78

Women's 60m Dash Final
3. Jada Jackson - 7.55@

Men's 60m Dash Final
2. Isaiah Kennedy - 6.72@
3. Kossi Tchenawou - 6.76@
6. Tyren Wolfe - 6.86
7. Khalil Dorsey - 6.89

Women's 800m Dash Final
1. Ashley Taylor - 2:07.23@
3. Emma Keenan - 2:08.02@

Men's 800m Dash Final
6. Ryan Lanley - 1:53.40
7. Cade Burks - 1:53.65

Women's 200m Dash Final
1. Jasmine Malone - 23.75%@$#
3. Nicole Fotinos - 24.28@
6. Jada Jackson - 24.57
8. Miracle Onyemaobi - 25.07

Men's 200m Dash Final
1. Kossi Tchenawou - 21.12%@
3. Tyren Wolfe - 21.47@
5.  James Fisher - 21.58

Women's 3000m
4. Pipi Eitel - 10:10.23
7. Paige Gilchrist - 10:17.07
11. Mikayla Malaspina - 10:23.12
12. Delaney Rasmussen - 10:25.60
13. Miranda Myers - 10:25.94
22. Kylie Goo - 10:39.07
26. Hannah Behunin - 10:45.27
-- Jessa Hanson - DNS

Men's 3000m
2. Matthew Baxter - 8:34.43@
3. Peter Lomong - 8:35.09@
5. Blaise Ferro - 8:39.57
6. Andy Trouard - 8:41.44
23. Jack Shea - 9:04.33
28. Kyle Havriliak - 9:10.92
31. Ryan Wolff - 9:16.84

Women's 4x400
1. Jasmine Malone, Ashley Taylor, Miracle Onyemaobi, Nicole Fotinos - 3:40.23%@$#

Men's 4x400
4. James Fisher, Tyren Wolfe, James Chevious III, Kossi Tchenawou - 3:13.06

@ All-Conference Honoree
$ New Conference Record
# New School Record
% Big Sky Champion

Big Sky Men's Team Results
1. Northern Arizona              137.5
2. Southern Utah                 111
3. Montana State                 87.83
4. Sacramento State            80
5. Weber State                     56.33
6. Idaho                            45
7. Eastern Washington         39
8. Portland State                  27.33
9. Idaho State                      26
10. Northern Colorado         24
11. North Dakota                   19
12. Montana                          10

Big Sky Women's Team Results
1. Northern Arizona                 150
2. Sacramento State               99.5
3. Weber State                       94.5
4. Eastern Washington           52
5. Montana State                    48
6. Southern Utah                    42
7. North Dakota                      38
8. Northern Colorado              36
9. Idaho                                 31
10. Montana                           26.5
11. Portland State                  23
12. Idaho State                       22.5
Print Friendly Version

Players Mentioned