The Northern Arizona cross country teams are set to race at the NCAA Mountain Regionals on Friday in Provo, Utah, at the East Bay Golf Course.
The women will run a 6k race starting at 11 a.m. and the men will take on a 10k starting at noon.
The event will be hosted by Brigham Young University. The Cougars men's team happens to be the second overall ranked team in the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division I National Coaches' Poll, just behind Northern Arizona's top spot.
The Lumberjacks ranked No. 1 for the 20th week in a row, and the women will enter regionals ranked No. 28 in the poll.
Big Sky opponents Idaho State, Montana, Montana State, Northern Colorado, Southern Utah and Weber State will all be in the Mountain Regional. On the women's side, Southern Utah and Northern Arizona will make up two of the five teams ranked in the USTFCCCA top 30.
Including Northern Arizona on the men's side, there are five teams ranked in the top 15 that will be competing in Provo.
NAU's men's team dominated the field at Big Sky Conference Championships, taking the top four individual spots of the 8k race.
The women's basketball team may be embarking on its first road trip of the season, but it will feel a lot like home.
On their weekend road trip to the Evergreen State, the Lumberjacks will play in front of a lot of familiar faces with games against Seattle on Friday at 6 p.m. and Washington on Sunday at 3 p.m.
The Lumberjacks have a total of seven players on its roster from Oregon and Washington. Two of them -- Regan Schenck and Morgan Gary -- played their prep ball within an hour from Seattle. Four of NAU's five Oregon natives -- Caitlin Malvar, Khiarica Rasheed, Peyton Carroll and Lauren Orndoff -- will make the trip. The Lumberjacks' fifth, Nina Radford is redshirting this season.
The coaching staff also has deep ties to the state of Washington, starting with Payne, who coached seven years at Puget Sound before arriving in Flagstaff.
Assistant coach Brandon Huntley served on Payne's staff at Puget Sound, while assistant coach Kellee Barney was an assistant at Washington State and was Gonzaga's head coach from 1994-2000.
The Lumberjacks' 2018-19 season got off to a blistering start on Tuesday with an 86-73 win over Fresno State. The victory was Northern Arizona's first to start a season at home since 2014 and only its second dating back to 2008. In their season-opening victory, the Lumberjacks drained a school record 15 3-pointers, shooting 75 percent from behind the arc.
Kaleigh Paplow led the Jacks in four categories with 21 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals. The double-double was Paplow's 11th of her career. Paplow heads into Friday's contest just three rebounds away from moving into the program's top 10 all-time rebounding list.
Seattle, last year's WAC tournament champion, dropped its season opener on Tuesday, 57-54, to Cal State Fullerton at home. The Redhawks shot just 37.5 percent from the field and particularly struggled from behind the arc, shooting just 3 for 16 on 3-point attempts. Despite winning the conference tournament and advancing to the NCAA Tournament, Seattle was picked third in both the WAC preseason polls by the coaches and media.
Washington will open its season on Thursday at home versus Cal State Fullerton before the Huskies host the Lumberjacks on Sunday. The Huskies were picked 12th in the Preseason Pac-12 Coaches Poll following a 7-23 season, 1-17 in the Pac-12.
The Lumberjacks hit win No. 20 on Tuesday with a hard-fought 25-17, 25-23, 26-24 sweep of Southern Utah in the Rolle Activity Center. With their seventh straight victory, the Lumberjacks improved to 20-8 overall and notched their fourth 20-win season in the last five years.
With the two final kills coming from Heaven Harris, Northern Arizona secured its fifth consecutive home sweep. The last time Northern Arizona posted five straight 3-0 home wins was a decade ago in 2008.
Harris guided the Lumberjacks (12-3 Big Sky) to victory as she finished with a team-high 10 kills. Her last two were the biggest, as it sent put an end to the Thunderbirds' comeback bid. Southern Utah had set point in the third game, 24-22, but were unable to extend the match.
Freshman Ryann Davis crossed the court with a kill and Northern Arizona tied the score at 24-24 with a block by Kaylie Jorgenson and Brittni Dorsey. Harris then followed with two kills to wrap up the match.
Even in defeat, Southern Utah held advantages in kills (45-41) and blocks (7-6). Northern Arizona outhit its rival, however, .221-.184, and held a slight edge in digs (65-61) behind 23 from Jordan Anderson and 19 from Jorgenson.
The Lumberjacks' performance in the first set was their best, hitting .382.
Southern Utah was in complete control of the second set, but the home team managed to rally late to seize a 2-0 lead. A Jorgenson ace -- one of her match-high three -- gave the Jacks an early 5-3 lead before the Thunderbirds ripped off 10 straight. A service error finally ended the run, and was the first point in a five-point NAU spurt that cut the Southern Utah lead to 13-10.
Four Southern Utah errors during a 6-0 third set Lumberjacks run contributed to an initial NAU lead of 8-4. Southern Utah eventually tied it at 18-18 and then used a 4-0 run to take a 23-21 advantage before reaching set point at 24-22.
NAU's next match will be Saturday versus Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. in Rolle.