Lumberjacks Log Eight Victories Saturday to Finish First Outdoor Meet of 2017

Northern Arizona's Nicole Fotinos
Northern Arizona's Nicole Fotinos

IRVINE, Calif. – The Northern Arizona University track and field team competed in day two of the 2017 UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational Saturday, securing an impressive eight event victories to close out the first meet of the outdoor season.

"Well, going back to yesterday, Brooke Andersen's performance was historical," said Director of Track and Field Mike Smith. "Throws, in general, had a lot of great performances this weekend that resulted in personal bests. But when you look at the way the rest of the team is competing as well, we're definitely bringing the momentum over from indoors. We just have to make use of the opportunities we have now."

Most notably, it was the Lumberjack sprints unit showcasing their speed and talent on the track at Anteater Stadium this afternoon.

Senior Nicole Fotinos opened her outdoor campaign with a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash with a 54.77 time—a mere 0.41 of a second off her personal-record—and running the first leg of NAU's victorious 4x400m relay squad. That 4x4 group, consisting of Fotinos, Tylnn Carter, Jasmine Malone and Ashley Taylor, won the event with a 3:46.33 time.

Speaking of Malone, the native of Chandler, Ariz., was also a busy sprinter on the track today for NAU, running legs in both relays and competing as an individual in the 100m and 200m dashes. It was in the latter two where Malone really shined, earning first place in the 200m with a 24.24 mark and third in the 100m with a PR time of 12.06.

The men's side was equally just as good for the 'Jacks, as Isaiah Kennedy followed up a championship performance in the 60m at indoor conference with a 10.58 time in the 100m dash today. That time was good enough for first place, and Kennedy joined James Fisher, Kossi Tchenawou and Tyren Wolfe in locking up second-place in the men's 4x1 (41.29).

Kennedy also finished second in the 200m dash Saturday, behind his teammate and five-time Big Sky champ in this event: Mr. Fisher. Fisher, an outdoor senior native of Arlington, Texas, recorded a 21.45 time for the win today, as Wolfe locked up fifth with a 22.01 mark.

Other notable performances from NAU sprints came from Ashley Taylor in the 400m hurdles (2nd—1:01.22) and James Chevious III in the 400m (3rd—49.08).

"Today was one of those days where I saw pure competition from our athletes," said Associate Head Coach and Sprints Coach Kenny McDaniel. "I love how our sprinters and hurdlers competed this afternoon. This kind of day gives us a lot of momentum as the outdoor season gets underway. [Fotinos] began her season with a blazing 400m time and Kennedy set the tone on the men's side."

While the Lumberjack sprints unit certainly had a stellar start to its season, other athletes that can't be forgotten are Khalil Dorsey and Nathan Weitz.

In the men's long jump, Dorsey—also a member of the NAU football team—leapt his way to a first-place finish with a meet-best 23-0.375 (7.11m) jump, while Weitz added to the Lumberjack victory total with a first-place time in the 3000m (8:22.93) and a second-place mark in the 1500m (3:49.18).

The real story for NAU in the 1500m event, though, came on the women's side and from Maggie Carruth, who cranked out a 4:32.03 personal-best time—topping her previous PR by over 15 seconds.

Carruth's distance teammate Miranda Myers also had a fantastic day Saturday, registering second place in the 1500m (4:38.00) and fourth in the 3000m (10:02.96). Both of those marks were career-best for the NAU sophomore.  

"Carruth and Myers had huge days today," said Smith. "They came to compete and showed what they're capable of doing. Carruth is progressing well and is ready for a huge 800m soon."

Sophomore jumper Obang Odol also had a first-place mark, with his coming in the men's high jump (6-06.50, 2.00m).

The Lumberjack track and field team has next weekend off as it prepares for split squad travel to Texas Relays and the Stanford Invitational the weekend of March 31.