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NAU Distance Ready to Put In Some Mileage at Stanford

NAU's Ryan Wolff and Harvey Nelson
NAU's Ryan Wolff and Harvey Nelson

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – It will be a relatively light weekend for the Northern Arizona University track and field team, as the distance crew will be the only event group in action. The Lumberjacks send 19 athletes to the campus of Stanford University for some high-octane action at the Cardinal Classic this Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22.

We have your full breakdown of each distance event and the NAU athlete(s) competing in them outlined below.

Women's 800m | Friday – 7:20 p.m. | Maggie Carruth, Melanie Zibrat

Coming off a big 800-meter personal best set at last weekend's Bryan Clay Invitational, Maggie Carruth kicks things off for the Lumberjacks with teammate Melanie Zibrat in the very same event Friday at 7:20 p.m. PT. Carruth also ran the third leg of the NAU record setting 4x400m relay team last Friday in Azusa, Calif., and the No. 1 ranked Big Sky athlete in the 800m looks to continue her great season tomorrow night from Cobb Track and Angell Field in Palo Alto. 

There are four scheduled heats of the women's 800m run, with Carruth slotted in the first section and Zibrat running in the fifth. 

Men's 800, | Friday – 7:35 p.m. | Cade Burks, Ryan Lanley and Sean Gregg

All three of the NAU distance men competing in the Cardinal Classic's 800m run all notched PR's at Bryan Clay last time out. For Burks and Gregg, their personal-best came in the 1500m run while Lanley hustled his way to a 1:55.53 time in the 800m 

Women's 5000m | Friday – 8:15 p.m. | Karina Ernst, Emily Roughan

In the packed 1500m event at Bryan Clay last weekend, both NAU's Ernst and Roughan competed for the Lumberjacks and logged respectable times. Ernst hit a PR at 4:33.06 while Roughan competed in the following section with a 4:36.13 PR. Both rank inside the top-13 on the Big Sky Conference's 2017 performance list in the 1500m, and both will be making their season debuts in the 5K Friday night.

Men's 5000m | Friday – 8:35 p.m. | Matt Baxter, Blaise Ferro, Cory Glines, Ryan Wolff

All four of the Lumberjack men will be making their 2017 debut in the 5K event this weekend, but Baxter, Ferro and Glines are all riding the waves of PR's set in the 1500m at Azusa. Baxter (3:45.27) now ranks second overall on the conference's performance list this season because of his showing last Saturday, while Ferro (3:52.56) slides in at 14th and Glines (3:52.83) right behind him in 15th.

Men's Steeplechase | Saturday – 5:13 p.m. | Kyle Havriliak

After setting a collegiate best in the steeplechase earlier this season at the UC Irvine Spring Break Invite with an 8:52.04 time, Havriliak is entered to compete in the one and only section of the men's steeple Saturday.

Women's 1500 | 7:13 p.m. | Carruth, Ernst, Roughan, Zibrat, Mikayla Malaspina, Miranda Myers

Malaspina, the conference's top-ranked athlete in the women's 5K event, will be in action in Palo Alto early Saturday night, but this time in the 1500m run. There, she will look to potentially surpass her old PR set over a year ago in this particular event—currently sitting at 4:43.50.

Every indication points to the fact she can accomplish such a feat, though, as Malaspina most recently shaved an entire minute off her previous career-best in the 5K at Bryan Clay, registering a 16:26.74.

Joining the 1500m party will also be Myers, who is listed as the No. 16 ranked distance athlete on the conference performance list this season in this event. She, too, checked in with a new personal best in the 5K at Azusa, besting her previous PR by 50 seconds. With a time of 16:41.29, Myers placed fourth in her section. 

As of right now, the 1500m event is broken into five sections. Malaspina, Myers and Zibrat compete in the fifth section, while Carruth will give it her all in the second section. Additionally, Ernst will run in section three while Roughan will do so in section four.

Men's 1500m | 7:34 p.m. | Burks, Gregg, Havriliak, Lanley, Peter Lomong, Geordie Beamish, James Fitzgerald, Nathan Weitz

The most notable name on this particular list is Beamish, who will race with the Big Sky's No. 2 ranking and the NCAA West Region's No. 11 ranking on his back. Beamish (3:41.87), Lomong (3:51.3) and Fitzgerald (3:56.75) all penciled in new PR's at Bryan Clay in the 1500m event, while the veteran Weitz missed out on a career-best by a little over a second. 

Conversely, Nelson also notched a career-best himself last time out, but his came in the Bryan Clay's 5K run where he cut 20 seconds off his old PR with a 14:29.86 mark.

Competing against some of the most talented athletes in the nation, it should be very interesting to see how each individual athlete handles himself Saturday. For the men's 1500m, there is a total of five sections.

HOW TO WATCH

FloTrack will be streaming action from Palo Alto beginning at 6 p.m. -- WATCH 

Fans can also check out the Official Heat Sheets for the meet, and follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the races (@nautrackfieldxc).