The Northern Arizona University men's and women's cross country teams swept the Big Sky Conference Championships for the third time in the past four years on Saturday afternoon at Riverside Golf Course in Ogden, Utah.
Both teams successfully defend their conference titles, and Tyler Day won the individual championship on the men's side while Paige Gilchrist won the individual title for the women. It was the first time since 2009 that a team has swept both the team and individual championships.
Day won the individual championship with a 23:21.0 performance. Like in past races, it was Day, Matt Baxter and Andy Trouard leading the way for the Lumberjacks in what looked at times could come down to a photo finish.
Day ended up pulling away at the end for the title, but Baxter was right behind to finish second with a time of 23:22.0. Trouard placed third with a 23:58.7 performance.
While the individual title came down to the wire, so did the team scores as Northern Arizona and Southern Utah traded places back and forth for much of the race.
Strong performances from Luis Grijalva (eighth at 24:28.0) and Cory Glines (10th at 24:32.9) sealed the victory for the NAU men, who have now won 10 of the past 11 Big Sky titles.
With his performance, Grijalva was named the Big Sky's Male Freshman Athlete of the Year. Day, Baxter, Trouard, Grijalva and Glines were all named to the Big Sky All-Conference team.
On the women won the conference championship for the third time in the past four seasons. Mikayla Malaspina placed third (17:32.1) while Miranda Myers finished right behind them in sixth (17:42.6). Emily Roughan came in 18th (18:04.9) and Pipi Eitel finished 23rd (18:09.6) to round out the NAU scoring.
It is the 16th time in program history that NAU has swept the conference championships in what was a true team performance.
Gilchrist, Malaspina, and Myers all earned All-Conference honors.
The volleyball team entered the week with one home win this fall. They finished it with three -- with two against the conference’s top-two offensive teams nonetheless -- following a 25-23, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21 victory over Portland State to cap a perfect weekend in the Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks are now 11-12 overall and 7-5 in the Big Sky on the heels of their current four-match win streak.
Portland State entered the match hitting .269 in conference play, but the Lumberjacks totaled 12.0 blocks and kept them more than 100 points below that average at .155. It was the third straight match in which an NAU opponent has hit sub-.200, and the Lumberjacks have now accounted for two of the Vikings’ three conference losses this season.
Freshman Heaven Harris led the Lumberjacks’ presence at the net with seven blocks for the second consecutive match. Redshirt junior Brittni Dorsey totaled a season-best five in reserve with three other Lumberjacks finishing with three apiece.
The Lumberjacks scored the final three points -- on kills by redshirt junior Kaylie Jorgenson and redshirt sophomore Victoria Ewalefo and a block -- of the first set to take the early match lead. The opener was one that was deadlocked throughout with a total of 10 ties.
Jorgenson (16 kills and 16 digs) and Stomp (46 assists and 10 digs) posted double-double efforts with junior Jordan Anderson leading the team with both 20 digs and three service aces. Harris tallied 14 kills and Akin finished with 11.
NAU continues its four-match homestand Thursday versus Weber State at 7 p.m. in the Rolle Activity Center. The Lumberjacks also welcome Idaho State next Saturday for a 2 p.m. match.
SWIM AND DIVE
The swimming and diving team used their depth to snap a three-meet losing streak to New Mexico and in the process open the season with a victory in their home pool, 167.5-132.5, on Saturday.
Freshman Niamh McDonagh was the lone Lumberjack to win multiple individual events, and NAU won posted victories in both diving events to start the dual season on a high note.
Although NAU and New Mexico split the 16-event meet right down the middle with both teams winning eight events, the Jacks managed to offset the Lobos' victories by stacking the top five scoring spots. Not including the final relay, NAU snagged three of the top five spots in the seven New Mexico individual event wins -- including a set of two-three-four finishes.
McDonagh carried over her success into her first collegiate dual meet recording wins in the 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. She also placed second in the 100 breast and swam the breaststroke leg of the Lumberjacks winning 200 medley relay team to open the meet.
On the springboards, juniors Tatiana Kurach and Christina Torrente posted victories. Kurach led a Lumberjack one-two-three sweep on 1-meter with a winning, and career-best, score of 309.00 with Torrente and junior Raquel Gonzales following. Torrente then proceeded to take first on 3-meter with her own career-best score of 325.50. The three juniors all posted NCAA Zone qualifying scores on 1-meter, while Torrente also recorded a qualifying score on 3-meter.