With just two weeks remaining before the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, Northern Arizona will split between three road meets this weekend with the goal of collecting qualifying marks.
Northern Arizona will send its sprints, jumpers and throws units to the Don Kirby Invitational hosted by New Mexico on Thursday and Friday. The Lumberjacks' distance runners will travel to Washington's Husky Classic on Friday and Saturday. Meanwhile, a trio of Lumberjacks in senior Geordie Beamish, senior Tyler Day and junior Luis Grijalva is slated for the 3,000-meter run at the Boston University Valentine Invitational in Boston.
The Northern Arizona men are in the USTFCCCA indoor top 10 for the first time in program history, moving up a spot to No. 10 this week. The Lumberjack men are ranked No. 3 in the Mountain Region. Meanwhile, the Lumberjack women are ranked No. 10 in this week's USTFCCCA Mountain Region indoor rankings.
With the exception of Beamish, who competed at the Millrose Games last weekend, the rest of the Lumberjacks will resume their indoor seasons after a week off from competition.
Northern Arizona's sprints crew has posted strong results this season, particularly on the women's side with freshman Kenya Coburn and junior Miracle Onyemaobi occupying top three spots in the Big Sky in the 60m, 200m and 400m. Coburn ranks third in the conference in the 60m with a season-best time of 7.61@. Onyemaobi also is third in both the 200m (24.85@) and 400m (55.57@) in the conference.
They will both compete at the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque this weekend, as will junior Jada Jackson who ranks fifth in the Big Sky in the 60m (7.65@) and 200m (25.04@).
Senior Cameron Rayford highlights the Lumberjack jumpers who will head to Albuquerque where he will compete in the long jump and triple jump. Rayford owns the Big Sky's third-best triple jump (14.70m) and eighth-best long jump (7.01m) this season. On the women's side, freshman Madeline Wilson – fresh off her school record Pentathlon performance two weeks ago – will aim to reset her personal-best in the high jump (1.64m).
The Lumberjacks will also have a host of throwers in New Mexico headlined by sophomore William Beaudry, who leads the conference in the men's weight throw (20.07m), and sophomore Matilde Roe, who ranks third in the women's shot put (14.74m). Also competing among Northern Arizona's throwers are junior Parker Joens (18.25m) and senior Kevin Cooney (19.84m) who rank second in the Big Sky in the men's shot put and weight throw respectively.
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Traveling to Seattle for the Husky Classic, one of the best indoor distance meets in the country, will be a slew of Lumberjacks who are ranked among the fastest times in the Big Sky this season. Redshirt freshman Bryn Morley posted her conference-leading mile time of 4:48.35, altitude adjusted, during the Mountain T's Invitational two weeks ago. Already with the Big Sky's second-fastest times in the mile and 3000m, senior Mikayla Malaspina is expected to run the 5000m in Washington with hopes of picking up a Big Sky qualifying time.
In the men's 3000m, sophomore Ryan Raff (8:09.91), redshirt freshman Mitchell Small (8:12.71@) and freshman Abdihamid Nur (8:12.78@) will all look to improve their times, which already each rank in the top eight of the Big Sky respectively.
Beamish, Day and Grijalva will also run the 3K in Boston with their eyes on recording qualifying times for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Three weeks ago in Boston, Day set the American Collegiate record in the 5000m while Grijalva and Beamish also posted times that currently have them in the top 16 NCAA qualifiers.
To move into the top 16 nationally in the 3K, Beamish, Day and Grijalva will need to best 7:59.09, which is the cutoff at 16th as of Wednesday. Last season, Grijalva and Beamish ran personal bests of 7:55.26 and 7:56.84 respectively, while Day's personal best is 8:01.15. All three times came at the Iowa State Classic last February.
Beginning a six-game swing of away contests, Northern Arizona will travel to Lafayette, Louisiana, for the two-day Cajun Invite hosted by Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns.
The Lumberjacks have a season record at 4-3.
Louisiana heads into the invite with an 8-2 overall record, taking wins over Rice, Florida A&M and the other contender in the invite, Texas A&M, Corpus Christi. Friday marks as the second meeting for the Lumberjacks and the Cajuns, with Louisiana achieving the first victory, 4-0.