The Northern Arizona track and field program concluded the Mountain T's Invitational with eight event victories and 32 new personal records on Saturday afternoon at the Walkup Skydome.
As a team, the women's squad won the meet with 146 points, and the men finished third (123 points) behind Southern Utah (134) and Grand Canyon University (126).
The meet was highlighted by Isaiah Kennedy's 6.73 in the men's 60-meter final -- which is the second-fastest time recorded indoors in NAU history. He finished the event in second place and his mark puts him with the second-best time in the Big Sky.
After setting a personal best in the mile on Friday, Delaney Rasmussen followed it up with a personal record with her win in the women's 3000-meter race with a 10:03.53 performance. Blaise Ferro was another Lumberjack distance runner who bounced back with a PR and a victory in the men's 3000m after setting a personal best mark in the mile the day before.
Also picking up impressive victory was Emma Keenan in the women's 600m run (1:32.38), Ryan Lanley in the men's 600m (1:21.05), Brady Williams in the men's weight throw (17.56m) and Jasmine Malone in the 400m (54.42).
Both the men's 4x400 relay team of Lorenzo Johnson, Tyren Wolfe, Alex Alton and James Chevious III (3:23.54) and the women's unit of Miracle Onyemaobi, Jada Jackson, Dana Padget and Helena McLeod (3:55.13) won their respective relays.
The Lumberjacks will have two meets next weekend. Some of the team will be at the Iowa State Classic while the rest will be at New Mexico's Don Kirby Invitational. Both meets will run Friday through Saturday.
Northern Arizona finished with four players in double-figures and cut an 18-point lead down to six in the fourth quarter in an eventual 77-65 loss to Weber State. The Lumberjacks (4-18, 1-10 Big Sky) gave the first-place Wildcats a scare before dropping their eighth straight game.
Olivia Lucero led the Lumberjacks in scoring with 18 points to go with nine assists. Both Kenna McDavis and Khiarica Rasheed posted identical lines of 14 points and 11 rebounds. For McDavis, Saturday marked her eighth double-double of the season, while Rasheed's season-high scoring game was part of her second double-double. Junior Kaleigh Paplow added 13 points.
The critical stretch came in the second quarter when Weber State used a 15-4 run to extend what was just a 22-20 lead. After a McDavis jumper cut NAU's deficit to a single possession, the Wildcats hit three 3-pointers during their decisive run.
"The second quarter was a struggle for us," said Lumberjacks head coach Loree Payne. "For us, we're trying to put together a 40-minute game. We have one big lapse and it's not consistent when it is, so we almost have to anticipate one of those lapses happening and figure out how to slow it down."
The arc proved to be a big difference-maker for Weber State, which made 12 triples to three by NAU. Eight of the Wildcats' dozen 3-pointers came before halftime as they took a 43-29 lead into the break.
Weber State's halftime lead grew to a game-high 18 at 47-29 with consecutive baskets to start the second half before NAU managed to cut its deficit to 10 with a quick 6-0 run late in the third quarter. Lucero capped the short spurt with back-to-back buckets to bring the game to 56-46, only for Weber State to respond with consecutive field goals.
With the Jacks facing a 61-46 deficit entering the fourth quarter, McDavis and Lucero combined for a 7-0 run to close the gap to 66-60 with 4:35 left. Two free throws by Lucero once again got the Lumberjacks within six with a little over a minute remaining in the game at 71-65. However, the Wildcats converted on 6 of 8 free throws to seal the victory.
The Lumberjacks did make a significant improvement on their season-worst 28 turnovers from two nights ago by committing just 13 on Saturday.
Next week, NAU plays a single game on Saturday at Southern Utah at 12:30 p.m. Following that game, the Lumberjacks will have four of their last six at home.
The Lumberjacks suffered a 7-0 sweep the Utah Utes on the road Saturday, falling to 1-2 to start the season.
The Utes clinched the doubles point with wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions before Lumberjacks Lucas Taylor and Sebastian Eguez had a chance to finish their match at the No. 2 position.
Utah dominated in singles, winning on every court. Taylor and Felix Schumann were the only Lumberjacks to win sets on their courts.
Northern Arizona takes a break before hitting the road against Arizona Saturday, Feb. 17, for a 9 a.m. match. The Lumberjacks then take on Nebraska the next morning at 10 a.m. Both matches will be played in Tucson.
After losing the doubles point against Abilene Christian, Northern Arizona came back for a 4-1 victory and their second win of the season.
The Lumberjacks and the ACU Wildcats were matched up with a win on both sides before the clinch. No. 56 Eirene Granville and Brandy Walker fell 7-6 to the Wildcat pair at the No. 1 position.
Despite losing the point, Northern Arizona came back to dominate in singles, winning on four courts and clinching the match before the other two courts could finish.
Juniors Hanneke Lodewijks and Granville, and freshmen Ellie Millard and Madi Moore all picked up singles wins to go 2-0 over the weekend.
Northern Arizona is now 2-2 on the season and will finish out the three-match weekend in El Paso. The Lumberjacks will compete against the University of Texas – El Paso Sunday at 10 a.m.
SWIMMING AND DIVING
In a triumphant return from injury, Raquel Gonzales lived up to her billing as Northern Arizona's top platform diver by winning the tower event on Saturday to close the NAU Quad Diving meet. Not only did Gonzales best the field of 15 divers from NAU, Boise State, New Mexico and New Mexico State, but she did so with the second-best platform performance in program history.
After qualifying third in the prelims with a score of 220.25, which was a season-best, Gonzales posted 244.30 in the finals to claim first-place. Gonzales' performance only trails Gwen Smithberg's mark of 261.10 set in 2013.
With her 10-meter exclusive list, Gonzales put the exclamation point on Saturday by recording 118.30 points on her final two dives alone on her way to an NCAA Zone qualifying score.
Katie Conn and Christina Torrente also reached the finals, with Conn being the next highest finisher in ninth overall. Conn totaled a finals score of 188.45 after notching a personal-best score of 191.20 in the preliminaries. Torrente garnered the 12th spot in finals with a score of 162.25.
The Lumberjacks also received a career-best effort from Olivia Payne, who scored 198.60 in the preliminaries. Payne's score, which was right ahead of Torrente's prelim score of 196.75, was good for fifth. However, the Lumberjacks opted to hold Payne out of the finals.
With the two-day meet behind it, the Northern Arizona swimming and diving team will focus on defending their Western Athletic Conference title. The Lumberjacks' quest for a fifth straight conference championship begins on Wednesday, Feb. 21, in Houston, Texas.