It's a PR Party in Azusa to Start the West Coast Trip for NAU

Northern Arizona's Mikayla Malaspina
Northern Arizona's Mikayla Malaspina

AZUSA, Calif. – The first day of a busy weekend for the Northern Arizona University track and field team wrapped up with sophomore Mikayla Malaspina opening her outdoor season running a 16:26.74 time in the first heat of the women's 5000-meter event Thursday night at the Bryan Clay Invitational.  

That time was a personal-best for Malaspina, absolutely crushing her old PR by basically a minute (her previous best was 17:26.23). Her distance teammates Miranda Myers and Harvey Nelson were just as impressive Thursday night in Azusa, pacing themselves well in their respective 5000m heats and progressively mowing down competitors the last 800m. 


For Myers, she ran in the second heat of the women's 5K, coming into the race with a PR of 17:32.21. That mark did stand a chance tonight, though, as Myers sped past it—punching in at 16:41.29—en route to a fourth-place finish in her heat. To his credit, Nelson also busted out a big PR on the Cougar Stadium track tonight with a 14:29.86 mark—20 seconds better than his old career best. 

The effort and determination exhibited by each of those Lumberjacks was palpable, as the few but faithful NAU coaches, athletes and fans tonight in attendance provided the enthusiasm and extra oomph they needed to run down new records.


While competition went well into the California night for NAU, there was another meet the Lumberjacks competed at earlier today in Torrance, Calif.: the Mt. SAC Relays. There, throwers Adam Keenan, Brooke Andersen, Tiana Hatler-Stefick and Jacob Kaufman competed in four different hammer throw competitions.

Keenan was the last of those Lumberjacks to compete Thursday afternoon, putting his skills to the test in the men's hammer throw invite. Keenan was the definition of consistent and steady, tossing marks of 67.23m, 67.54m, 68.41m,  68.03m, and 66.51m to finish seventh in the comp with a meet-best 68.44m mark on his last attempt.


The NCAA's No. 2 ranked hammer thrower Andersen competed today at Mt. SAC Relays as well in the women's hammer throw invite, slinging a meet-best 66.24m throw on her third attempt from the circle. The redshirt-junior from Vista, Calif., advanced to finals, but she was unable to land a fair mark in her final three throws on the day.

While this was the first meet of the season in which Andersen did not win, placing seventh overall, there are still some positives takeaways—the biggest one being she gets to put Mt. SAC behind her quickly as she's right back to the grind tomorrow in Long Beach. She will compete in the hammer throw event at the Long Beach Invitational, scheduled to start at 4:45 p.m. Friday.  


Andersen's teammate Hatler-Stefick also threw around heavy stuff today, competing in the women's hammer throw open at 12:30 p.m. Hatler-Stefick tossed a 52.65m mark on her first attempt, but fouled her next two and, subsequently, did not advance to finals. Just like Andersen, though, Hatler-Stefick will compete at Long Beach tomorrow in the hammer event. Joining them will be fellow Lumberjacks Rachel Pott, Brittany Vielma and Sykora Walker.

Jacob Kaufman started things at 10:30 a.m. in the men's hammer throw open, fouling on all three of his preliminary throws and missing finals.

Action continues tomorrow for NAU at the Bryan Clay Invite (live stats), Mt. SAC Relays (live stats) and Long Beach Invitational (live stats).