Luis Grijalva was the first of three Lumberjacks to cross the finish line for a top-10 finish and the Northern Arizona men's cross country team dominated the 2019 edition of the Nuttycombe Invitational on Friday in Madison, Wisconsin, recording the low score of 59 points en route to winning the event for a fourth straight year.
While Grijalva placed fifth overall with a time of 23:43.4 in 8,000-meter race, teammate Geordie Beamish had a strong season debut with an eighth-place finish in 23:48.5, helping the No. 1 Lumberjacks make a statement. Runner-up Stanford had 133 points, with Tulsa taking third as a team with 175 points.
"Luis has been training at a really, really high level," said Michael Smith, director of cross country and track and field at Northern Arizona. "It is more than he has ever done before. It shows that he is competing in a way that is a real testament to that training. We'll get him a little more rest before conference championships."
The junior, who is projected to lead the Lumberjacks as they seek a fourth consecutive NCAA title this year, showed a 5:53.7 split. He held the third-place spot at the 6000m mark, but dropped back a spot.
Edwin Kurgat of Iowa State won the men's race in 23:29.4. Beamish and Abdihamid Nur crossed the line nearly together, with the latter taking ninth in 23:48.6
"I saw a lot of things I really liked in this race from our men," Smith said. "There is room for improvement and more work to be done, but overall I was pleased with the performances today."
Northern Arizona's Theo Quax, a freshman, clocked 23:56.7 for 16th place and fellow freshman Drew Bosley took 21st in 23:59.4. Ryan Raff was 56th and Blaise Ferro, making his season debut, was 70th.
"We have really been focusing on our training," Grijalva said. "It was great to be out there with the boys again after such a long break in competition. Our eyes are on conference championships as we prepare for postseason races."
The Lumberjacks have now claimed the team title five times in the race's 11-year history.
The Northern Arizona women showed their improvement this season is no fluke, taking sixth as a team a year after a 19th-place result. The women ended the day with 251 points, and were led by Taryn O'Neill's 20th-place finish in 20:23.3 for the 6000m women's course.
"It felt good to be uncomfortable in the middle of the race," O'Neill said. "Trusting the training and altitude that we practice with in Flagstaff got me through the last leg of the race and even though it was hard, it was exactly what I wanted because it confirmed all the work that we have put in."
At 2000m in, O'Neill was in 21st. She moved up to 17th at the 4000m mark before dropping back down three spots. Northern Arizona's Mikayla Malaspina came in at 39th place, and Miranda Myers finished in the top 50 at 41st.
Arkansas won the women's race with the low score of 62 points.
Up next Northern Arizona cross country will enter the postseason, competing in the 2019 Big Sky Conference Championships in Greeley, Colorado on Nov. 2.
"We have to make sure we recover from these meets," Smith said. "We are heading into a really heavy period of competition with the postseason coming up. This next part goes by fast and we have done a lot of really good training but now is a time for rest."
The Lumberjacks finished up the third day at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Mountain Regionals, playing in the second consolation bracket and winning five out of seven matches played.
Two players won both matches they played in. Chris Steele had his first match against a player from Denver, winning in three sets, going 6-3, 2-6 and 10-3. In a second match against another Denver player, Steele won in two, 6-4, 7-6 (5). Facundo Tumosa beat a member of BYU's team, 6-3, 6-3. In his second match, Tumosa won, 6-4, 6-7 and 10-7.
Eban Straker-Meads, Alex Groves and Daniel Dillon each played one singles match. Straker-Meads played a Denver opponent, winning in three sets. Groves won against a New Mexico State player. Dillon fell in his consolation match against a player from Nevada in two sets, 6-3, 7-6 (6).
Today is the final day of the ITA Mountain Regionals. The Lumberjacks will play again, advancing to their next matches in their consolation bracket.
SWIM AND DIVE
The swimming and diving women won their regular-season opener against WAC opponent Northern Colorado, 157.5-142.5, in Greeley, Colorado, on Friday.
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The Bears won seven of the 16 events with really close times in each one. In the first event, the 400-meter medley relay, UNC took first, owning a 3:35.97 time. Sarah O'Connor, Hope Williams, Maddie Seidl and Elisa Rodriguez took second with a 3:53.19 time. The Bears earned 13 points during this event, with the Lumberjacks just earning four.
Astrid Villeda and Haley Mayhew posted first and second place in the 1000m freestyle. Villeda recorded a time of 10:38.39, with Mayhew just milliseconds behind her at 10:38.64. Sam Milewski finished in fourth with a time of 10:56.71. NAU received 15 points for this event, tying with UNC 15-15.
Northern Colorado took the lead again after winning first in the 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke, and 100 breaststroke. Erin Spielman was third in the 200m free with a time of 1:57.40, just .17 milliseconds behind UNC's Paula Nunez. Fernana Montiel earned second in the 100m backstroke with a time of 58:49. UNC took the top two spots again in the 100m breaststroke, with Hope Williams taking third with a time of 1:06.75.
Maddie Seidl broke a three-event winning streak by Northern Colorado swimming a 2:08.80 200m butterfly, beating UNC's Petra Kris by about three-fourths of a second (2:09.57). The Bears did come back to win first in the 50 free, but Rodriguez earned second place with a time of 24.14.
After Northern Colorado won in the 50m freestyle, the Lumberjacks took control of the next five events: 1-meter dive, 100m free, 200m backstroke, 200m breaststroke and 500m free.
In both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards, Emily Sharrer and Emily Luberto took first and second. Sharrer posted first in both with a 1-meter score of 277.35 and a 3-meter score of 252.45. Luberto's second place was earned from a 1-meter score of 258.83 and a 3-meter score of 251.18. The Jacks beat UNC by a differential of 0.45 in the 1-meter and 54.23 in the 3-meter.
Halfway through the meet, Northern Colorado was 80-70 over the Lumberjacks. However, the lead did not last long.
The Lumberjacks equalized the score after winning three more events: the 100 free, 200 backstroke and 200 breaststroke. Rodriguez won the 100m free earning a time of 51.72. Erin Spielman tied in fourth with UNC's Emily Hamel with a time of 55.06 in this event. In the 200 backstroke, Montiel won first with a time of 2:06.67. NAU filled in sixth and seventh as well, with O'Connor in sixth and Lauren Hazel seventh. Sara Jendbro and Clara Foster earned the tying points in the 200m breaststroke, with Jendbro posting first with a time of 2:23.33 and Foster in fourth with a time of 2:30.57.
In the 500m free, Mayhew and Villeda secured first and second positions. Mayhew finished with a 5:13.68 time and Villeda finished at 5:14.12. Milewski placed fourth with a time of 5:20.57.
Northern Colorado won two more events: the 100m butterfly and the 200m freestyle relay. In the 100m butterfly, NAU took three of the five top spots. Seidl came in second with a time of 58:74, Bier took third clocking in at 59:24 and Natalie Dinch earned one point with a time of 1:01.41. In the 200m free relay, UNC took first, but the Lumberjacks took second and third. Spielman, Rodriguez, Montiel and Hick swam their relay with a 1:38.40 time. Foster, Abby Nelson, Hazel and O'Connor earned their third-place spot with a 1:39.95 time.
Niamh McDonagh helped to clinch the win for the Lumberjacks in the 200m individual medley. McDonagh placed first with a time of 2:10.04. Haley Mayhew came in third, swimming a 2:10.53 time. Sara Jendbro followed behind Mayhew in fourth with a time of 1:12.76.
The Lumberjacks will continue competing Saturday as they take on Air Force and Colorado State in a double-dual meet in Colorado Springs, Colorado, starting at 2 p.m.
The Northern Arizona University women’s soccer team (7-6-2, 3-2-1 Big Sky) earned its seventh win of the season against Idaho (3-11-2, 0-4-2 Big Sky), posting a 2-1 victory with the game-winning goal by Emma Robson in the 71st minute.
“What a fight tonight. Credit to Idaho for a great battle,” Lumberjacks head coach Kylie Louw said. “Incredible team win on the road and I am so proud of every single person on this team. They all stepped up for each other and came up with the result.”
The Lumberjacks have outshot their opponents for eight straight games. NAU took six total shots against the Vandals, with three on-goal. Idaho countered with just four shots, two on-goal. The Lumberjacks continue to remain on top in the Big Sky with 106 shots.
Sam Larberg scored her first goal of the season during the match, doing so just 10 minutes into the first half, with Tatum Heeres assisting, her third of this season.
In the 60th minute, Idaho’s Taylor Brust scored off of an unassisted free kick. The Lumberjacks and the Vandals remained tied for 12 minutes before Robson scored the game-winning goal in the 71st minute, her second goal of the season.
Mei-Te Coco, Rylie Curran and Whitney Winans also took shots for the Lumberjacks. Both Coco and Winans recorded one while Curran took two with one on-goal.
Taryn Benham recorded one save during the match in the first half. Benham shutout the Vandals in the second.
The Lumberjacks head to Cheney, Wash. to play against their final Big Sky Conference road match at Eastern Washington (7-5-2, 4-0-1 Big Sky), on Sunday, Oct. 20, starting at noon.