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After setting a school record in the 800 meters on the opening night of the Mountain T's Invitational that took place over the weekend, Northern Arizona's Ashley Taylor was named the Big Sky Conference Women's Track Athlete of the Week honors, per the conference's release Tuesday.

Taylor set the new NAU school record with a victory in the 800m at 2:05.92 (2:04.53 altitude conversion), which sits as the ninth-best time in the country and the top mark in the Big Sky in indoor season. It also ranked as the third-best time in the history of the conference.

She also finished second overall at the Mountain T's in the 400m with a new personal best of 55.15. Her previous best mark in the 800m was 2:10.66 set back at the 2017 Big Sky Indoor Championships.

Lumberjacks director of track and field Michael Smith came away impressed with the redshirt-senior from Ontario, Canada.

"Our staff made the decision to move her from 400 hurdles up to the 800m race," Smith said after Taylor broke the record last Friday. "It doesn't happen all the time. You're asking someone to dive into this whole new event in her last year of college. It'd be like the equivalent of a tight end making the switch to quarterback. You have to learn this whole new thing and she just had the best attitude about it the whole time."

The Lumberjacks will be at 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.


SWIM AND DIVE

Junior Raquel Gonzales became the third Northern Arizona diver to be honored as WAC Diver of the Week on Tuesday following her weekend performance at the NAU Quad Diving Meet. Gonzales picked up her second career honor and first of the season.

The Chandler product returned to action after missing the last two meets with an injury and nearly broke the school record on platform Saturday. In a field featuring divers from Boise State, New Mexico and New Mexico State, Gonzales rose to the top to win the platform competition with a career-best score of 244.30. The score was an NCAA Zone qualifying mark and it moved her into second all-time in program history.

Gonzales also placed fourth on 3-meter with a score of 279.00.

The Northern Arizona swimming and diving team is off until the WAC Championships in Houston, Texas, from Feb. 21 to 24.

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