Vote for the NAU Athlete of the Week
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – This week, fans have seven athletes they can choose from for their choice for NAU Athlete of the Week as nominated by the NAU Media Relations office. Fans can vote via the poll question on the nauathletics.com home page, as well as the link above. Voting for the week's nominees will be open until the next poll opens on Monday, but the winner will be selected based on the totals on Thursday morning at 10 a.m.
Last week, the track and field team added nine more Big Sky qualifiers to bring their total to 28 automatic qualifiers during a record-breaking Mountain T's Invitational last Friday and Saturday. The women's basketball team was also home and won their only game of the week on Saturday night, defeating Sacramento State, 94-56, behind a record-setting first half. The men's basketball team didn't have the same success as the women's team, falling on the road at Sacramento State, 77-43, in the final game of their three-game road trip. The men's tennis team traveled to Riverside, Calif. for a pair of matches and claimed their first victory of the season on Sunday, 5-2 over UC Riverside, following a loss the day before to Vanguard, 6-1. Finally, the swimming and diving team wrapped up their final competition prior to the WAC Championships. The swimming team defeated Grand Canyon, the No. 3 ranked Division-II team in the nation, 152-110, while the diving team placed several divers in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform finals at the Falcon Diving Invitational.
For the week of January 30, the following seven athletes are your nominees for NAU Athlete of the Week.
Track & Field:
Diego Estrada – Jr. – Distance – Salinas, Calif.
Estrada smashed the school record in the mile, owned previously by Olympian Lopez Lomong, by nearly five seconds. His altitude-adjusted time of 3:55.46@ earned him his second NCAA auto-bid of the season and is currently the second-best time in the nation. Estrada now holds two NAU school records: the indoor mile and the indoor 5K.
Track & Field:
Deante Kemper – Fr. – Jumps – San Diego, Calif.
Kemper hit two personal-records and increased his lead atop the Big Sky high jump standings by first clearing 7-0, then returning a few minutes later to clear 7-2.25. His mark was nearly six inches better than his previous collegiate meet best of 6-9.75. The jump currently places him first in the nation among freshmen and 12th in the nation overall.
Swimming & Diving:
Kali Lents – Fr. – Diving – San Antonio, Texas
Posted the top NAU scores on the 1-meter and platform boards and had the second best finish on 3-meter at the Falcon Diving Invitational. Led NAU and placed fifth overall with a final score of 261.60 in the 1-meter competition. Led NAU and placed fifth overall with a team season-best score of 211.45 on platform. Concluded the weekend finishing eighth overall on 3-meter, scoring 249.90 in the prelims and 248.10 in the final. In addition to leading the team this season on platform, Lents has the third best 1-meter score and fourth best 3-meter score on the team this season and has qualified for the NCAA Zone Championship on 1-meter.
Swimming & Diving:
Rachel Palmer – So. – Swimming – Bucklands Beach, Auckland, New Zealand
Palmer won the 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley, finished second in the 100 butterfly, and swam the third leg of the winning 200 medley relay team to lead NAU to a 152-110 win over Grand Canyon, ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division-II. She won the 200 fly in 2 minutes, 4.31 seconds, won the 400 IM with a team season-best time of 4:27.06, and finished second in the 100 fly with a team season-best time of 57.02. Her 200 medley relay team also posted a team season-best, placing first in 1:46.49. She has the fastest times on the team this season in the 100 and 200 fly and 200 and 400 IM, and was a member of the fastest NAU squads in the 200 free relay and the 200 and 400 medley relays.
Gabe Rogers – Jr. – Guard – Houston, Texas
Rogers led the Lumberjacks in scoring with 13 points in their loss to Sacramento State on Saturday. He also added three assists and a rebound in 32 minutes of action while shooting 50 percent on three-point attempts. After missing the first 10 games this season due to a shoulder injury, Rogers is second on the team in scoring at 10.4 points per game and third on the team in three-point makes with 17.
Tyler Stephens-Jenkins – Jr. – Forward – Goodyear, Ariz.
Stephens-Jenkins scored 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and added seven rebounds, two assists, and a block to help NAU defeat Sacramento State 94-56. She scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half, in which NAU broke the school record for points in a half with 59. She also shot 3-of-5 from three-point range in 27 minutes of action while committing just one turnover in NAU’s only game of the week.
Shaun Waters – Jr. – Melbourne, Australia
Waters was the only Lumberjack to win both of his singles matches this weekend and did so without dropping a set. On Friday, he claimed the only point for NAU in their 6-1 loss to Vanguard, defeating Robin Wagner at No. 4, 6-4, 6-4. He repeated his success in Riverside, winning at No. 4 once again on Saturday, 6-0, 6-2 over UC Riverside's Luis Gastao. His win on Saturday gave the Lumberjacks a 3-0 lead in the match, which they would eventually win 5-2 for their first victory of the season. The two wins this weekend were the first for Waters in his NAU career after spending the last two years at Middle Tennessee State.