OGDEN, Utah – With her record-setting performance over the weekend at Texas Relays in the women's long jump event, Northern Arizona University's Shanice McPherson nabbed the Big Sky's "Women's Field Athlete of the Week" honor Monday afternoon.
McPherson joined the Lumberjacks this season after winning two NCAA Division II National Titles in the long jump, and her championship talents were certainly only display in Austin Saturday. On her sixth and final attempt of the day, the redshirt-senior Lumberjack went for liftoff and touched down in the sand pit with an official distance of 21-2 (6.45m). Competing against the nation's No. 6, 7, 12 and 23 long jumpers at the time, McPherson beat them all and placed second-overall in the competition. Today, McPherson ranks No. 4 in the NCAA.
With that mark, McPherson demolished the old-NAU and Big Sky records in that event, while also becoming the first athlete in the history of the conference to break the 21-foot plateau. The previous best jump for the Lumberjacks belonged to Maya Benzoor with a distance of 20-6—a record that lasted 23 track and field seasons. The Big Sky record belonged to Portland State's Baileh Simms with a 20-9.25 mark set two outdoor campaigns ago.
In the three months McPherson has donned an NAU uniform, she now claims sole ownership of the Big Sky outdoor record in the long jump and is tied for the indoor record. Additionally, with her 22 points garnered at indoor conference championships in February, McPherson was named the Big Sky's "Most Valuable Woman Athlete"—the first Lumberjack to earn that honor since the 2006 indoor season.
After a split squad last weekend, the entire NAU track and field team will travel down to the campus of the University of Arizona for the 2017 Jim Click Shootout this Saturday, April 8. The multi events will start on Thursday, April 6.