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King Emerges as Pentathlon Champion in NAU Debut

Monique King
Monique King

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Records fell and a newcomer emerged victorious among the highlights of the Northern Arizona swimming & diving's 21st annual Pentathlon on Friday in the Aquatic and Tennis Complex. Sophomore Monique King claimed the individual crown racking up a total of 3,530 points, while senior Urte Kazakeviciute and junior Alina Staffeldt set new meet records in the 100m breaststroke and 100m butterfly respectively.

"I'm definitely pleased with what I saw, but I definitely saw a lot of things that we need to work on," said head coach Andy Johns. "It was a great effort from everyone and those Pentathlon records are tough to break. It was a great glimpse into what's to come, and now we're going to use every bit of the next two weeks to get ready for Hawaii and the University of Arizona."

King finished second in the 200m individual medley and the 100m freestyle to swim to a first place overall Pentathlon finish. She narrowly missed on winning both events, finishing .07 seconds behind junior Audrey Mann in the IM and .04 seconds behind junior Kimmy Richter in the freestyle.

King became the second consecutive newcomer – and New Zealand native – to win the Pentathlon following Hayley Edmond's footsteps a year ago.

"I wasn't sure what to expect," King said. "I just tried to go out there and see what I could do. Training is a lot different here (in Flagstaff) and the team is amazing and supportive. Today was just really cool."

Mann and Richter were not far behind King on the overall leaderboard, with Mann finishing runner-up with 3,470 points and Richter placing third with 3,460 points. Both 'Jacks made a one-place improvement from their Pentathlon finishes last season. Freshman Kate Bier (3,410 points) and Staffeldt (3,250 points) rounded out the top five.

Mann opened the meet by winning the individual medley with a time of 2:29.44, just mere hundredths of a second faster than King, who posted a time of 2:29.51. Richter, Bier and junior Claire Hammond followed in successive order.

Staffeldt proceeded to defend her Pentathlon butterfly title with a record-breaking time of 1:03.12, besting Alexis Juergens' 2014 time of 1:03.48. After Staffeldt, the 2016 WAC Champion in the 200 butterfly, was Richter with a time of 1:041.16. Sophomore Andrea Schmidt placed third with Bier and Hammond in fourth and fifth respectively.

Hammond then won a closely contested 100m backstroke race with a time of 1:08.10. Hammond, senior Sara Lenhoff and freshman Fernanda Montiel were separated by less than six-tenths of a second with Lenhoff (1:08.43) and Montiel (1:08.66) providing an exciting finish. King wound up in fourth with junior Allison Mann just edging out Bier by .01 seconds for fifth.

Kazakeviciute might have the best swim of the entire meet to win the 100m breaststroke en route to breaking the Pentathlon record. Kazakeviciute won the event for the third consecutive year and posted a time of 1:13.74, more than a half second faster than Kelsey Williams, who previously held the mark of 1:14.33 in 1999. Mann was a distant second with a time of 1:17.05, and was followed by freshman Emily Martin, junior Roni Houck and sophomore Sarah Takach.

As it always seems to do, the 100m freestyle closed the meet with a bang with Richter coming up just shy of breaking the third Pentathlon record of the day. Needing to touch the wall in less than 59.01, Richter narrowly missed the mark, yet still managed to win the event for the second year in a row with a time of 59.10. King (59.14), Houck (59.45) and Hammond (59.96) were in hot pursuit of Richter in the second through four spots, while Staffeldt placed fifth.

NAU will now prepare for the first ever dual meet in the ATC on Oct. 8. The Lumberjacks will welcome Arizona and Hawaii for a double dual starting at 11 a.m. Arizona and Hawaii will also bring their men's teams, providing fans with an opportunity to watch a collegiate men's dual as well.