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September 28, 2013

NAU to Compete at the Cowboy Jamboree

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University's cross country teams will compete at the Cowboy Jamboree on Saturday, September 28. This year marks the 76th running of the Cowboy Jamboree, the oldest cross country race in America, hosted by Oklahoma State. The women's 5k race is set to start at 9:15 a.m., with the men's 8k race to follow at approximately 9:45 a.m.

"It will be a big challenge early on but we like to go against the best runners in the country so that we can test ourselves and see where we are at," said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Eric Heins. "Running on a challenging course early in the season makes the courses later in the year that much easier."

For the Lumberjack men this will serve as a clash of the titans, as they take on the defending national champs - No. 1 Oklahoma State. The NAU men finished fourth at last year's national championship and not only return everyone from that team but also add some great talent. Oklahoma State and NAU have held the top two spots since the season started. Also competing on the men's side will be the 28th ranked Michigan Wolverines.

This week's meet will be the first time All-Americans Brian Shrader and Futsum Zienasellassie will compete this season.

For the Lumberjack women the Cowboy Jamboree will be a great opportunity to prove themselves worthy of a top-30 national ranking as they take on the 22nd-ranked Oklahoma State women. The NAU women have already competed against No. 5 Arizona at the George Kyte Classic where they fell to the Wildcats by just three points.

"It's going to be a challenging competition with the Oklahoma State women being ranked 22nd,"said Heins.

The Lumberjack women will lean on the likes of sophomores Melanie Townsend and Rolonda Jumbo as well as newcomers Paige Gilchrist, Vanessa Estrada and Carolyn Bethel.