FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Following some impressive personal-best performances at Texas Relays and the Stanford Invitational last weekend, Northern Arizona will travel its entire track and field team to Tucson this Saturday, April 8, for some in-state action at the 2017 Jim Click Shootout.
This meet last season was an eventful one for the Lumberjacks, as the women's 4x400-meter relay team broke a 17-year old school record and five-time Big Sky Champ James Fisher registered his career-best time in the 200m dash (20.82) that continues to stand to this day.
Additionally, Fisher and his throws teammate Adam Keenan were subsequently named Big Sky "Athletes of the Week" the following Monday, so it is safe to say NAU has fond memories of Roy P. Drachman Stadium.
One Lumberjack to look out for this Saturday will be redshirt-senior Shanice McPherson. Last weekend at Texas Relays in Austin, McPherson shattered the old-NAU and Big Sky records in the long jump event with a 21-2 (6.45m) leap on her final attempt of the competition. She placed second overall and moved up to No. 4 in the NCAA as a result. The conference also awarded her with this week's Big Sky "Women's Field Athlete of the Week" honor, so it will be a lot of fun to see how the 2017 indoor conference's "Women's Most Valuable Athlete" will respond in Tucson tomorrow.
Headlining the action for the throws unit will be Keenan and Brooke Andersen. As mentioned above, Keenan had a good showing last time he competed on the campus of the University of Arizona, going for a first-place finish and a 218-0 (66.45) mark. After notching fifth-place last weekend (225-7.75, 68.77m) at Texas Relays and competing against a field of athletes that NAU throws coach Nathan Ott described as "feeling like an NCAA Nationals preview," Keenan will surely be carrying some positive vibes into the throws circle this weekend.
If you follow NAU track and field even just a little bit, you know how spectacular a season Andersen is piecing together for the Lumberjacks. So far this outdoor campaign, she is a perfect 2-for-2 in even victories and ranks No. 2 in the entire nation in the women's hammer event. Additionally, her PR of 221-3 (67.43m), set at the UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational to open the outdoor season, shattered the old school and conference records.
For sprints, fans would certainly be remised to sleep on Fisher or either of the relay teams on both sides, but the Lumberjack faithful should also take notice of what Isaiah Kennedy is doing in 2017.
First, during this indoor season, he tied the NAU record in the 60m at conference championships (6.75) en route to securing the Big Sky title in that event. Now, he has seemingly rode that momentum into the outdoor season where—at Texas Relays against some of the nation's best athletes—logged a 10.51 personal-best in the 100m dash.
Nicole Fotinos is another name to look for this weekend in Tucson, as the conference's reigning outdoor co-champ in the 400m dash will compete in that event Saturday, as well as the 4x1 and 4x4 relays. For those really committed NAU track fans, you'll remember Fotinos was the athlete that anchored the record-setting and conference champion 4x4 relay team in 2016.
Last but certainly not least, NAU distance will run out athletes such as Maggie Carruth (800m, 4x4), Miranda Myers (1500m, 3000m) Cade Burks (1500m) and Harvey Nelson (1500m, 3000m). For Carruth she is the only Lumberjack of the bunch to compete at last weekend's Stanford Invitational, where she topped her PR set just a week earlier at UC Irvine with a 4:26.34 mark for third place in Palo Alto.
Events from U of A get underway at 9 a.m. MT with the Andersen and the women's hammer competition. The men's 110m hurdles will kick things off on the track at 12:30 p.m. For a full event schedule, click here. Additionally, here is the link to live stats as well as the heat sheet listings. Make sure to follow us on Twitter (@nautrackfieldxc) for updates throughout the day.