Lumberjack Pride All-Sports Banquet Awards Individual Achievements
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University Athletics Department held the Lumberjack Pride All-Sports Banquet at the High Country Conference Center Sunday afternoon, recognizing the top individual performances of the 2011-12 season.
Track and Field’s Diego Estrada was named the Male Athlete of the Year, while swimming’s Rachel Palmer was the Female Athlete of the Year.
Estrada, the NAU record holder in the indoor mile, 3,000-meter, and 5,000-meter runs, ended his indoor season with a trio of Big Sky Championships and a pair of All-American finishes. Estrada became only the fourth male in conference history to win three titles at one event, and his fifth-place 5,000-meter finish and seventh-place 3,000-meter finish at the NCAA National Indoor Championships give him three All-America honors for the 2011-12 cross country and track and field seasons and seven for his career.
Palmer, who is from Bucklands Beach, Auckland, New Zealand, won three WAC titles, was a part of four school records, and had five NCAA B standard times to lead NAU to a second place finish at the WAC Swimming and Diving Championships. She won the 200 butterfly with a school record and NCAA B time of 1:58.82 and won the 400 IM with a school record and NCAA B time of 4:18.46. She also swam the second leg of NAU’s 800 freestyle relay team that won the first WAC really championship in program history with an NCAA B time of 7:18.76.
Track and Field’s Deante Kemper was the Male Newcomer of the Year after a breakout freshman campaign. Kemper, a freshman from San Diego, Calif., made a name for himself early and often during the 2012 indoor season, breaking his personal record by over three inches by jumping 7-2.25 in his second collegiate meet. The jump put him among the 20 best jumpers in the nation overall for the rest of the season, and cemented him as the nation's best freshman in the event. Kemper narrowly missed the NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 7-4, but ended his season winning the Big Sky crown in the high jump with a leap of 7-0.5.
Freshman swimmer Caitlin Wright was the Female Newcomer of the Year. Wright, who is from Tucson, Ariz., earned two All-WAC first team honors with third place and fourth-place finishes in the 1650 freestyle and 500 freestyle, respectively, at the WAC Championship. She earned Bronze with a third place finish in 16:44.01 in the 1650 free, the fourth fastest time in program history, and touched fourth in 4:54.45 in the 500 free, also good for the fourth fastest time in program history. Wright also advanced to the B final in the 200 butterfly at the WAC Championship with a time of 2:05.23 and won the consolation final and swam a time trial in the 200 free in 1:50.95, the second fastest time on the team for the season. Her 500 and 1650 free times were also second best on the team while her 200 fly time was third best. Wright also had one first place and three second place finishes during the regular season.
Swimming’s Kristin Jones and Football’s Ben Bachelier earned the Lumberjack Service Awards for their community service efforts.
Female Newcomer of the Year
Caitlin Wright, Swimming and Diving, Freshman
Male Newcomer of the Year
Deante Kemper, Track and Field, Freshman
Female Athlete of the Year
Rachel Palmer, Swimming and Diving, Sophomore
Male Athlete of the Year
Diego Estrada, Track and Field/Cross Country, Junior/Senior
Lumberjack Service Award Winners
Ben Bachelier, Football, Senior
Kristin Jones, Swimming Diving, Senior