FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The first five Lumberjacks to cross the finish line all placed within the top-six spots, as the Northern Arizona University men's cross country team emerged victorious at the 36th annual George Kyte Classic Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt-junior Cory Glines, last year's individual winner at this event, began his season with a second-place performance and a 22:39.4 time—nearly a 10 second improvement compared to his mark in 2015. Glines' teammate and redshirt-junior transfer Matt Baxter followed him in with a third-place time of 22:51.2, while sophomore Peter Lomong (23:01.1), redshirt-freshman Geordie Beamish (23:16.4) and redshirt-junior Andy Trouard (23:16.7) went fourth, fifth and sixth in the 4.5 mile race.
For the No. 3 Lumberjacks, the win marked their fifth-straight George Kyte title.
"It was good to finally see the athletes get out there and compete again," said Director of Cross Country Eric Heins. "For the men, we want to try and pack up a little bit better. We had Glines and Baxter out front, which is great because we need those low sticks, but it would have been nice to have them working together a little longer as a group."
The women were looking to defend a 2015 George Kyte title as well Saturday, but fell short of the eventual winner Arizona by 16 points. The Lumberjacks did piece together some solid performances, though, as redshirt-junior Kylie Goo (3rd—15:50.1) improved her time from last season by five seconds. Sophomore Mikayla Malaspina (6th—16:04.2) and redshirt-senior transfer Karina Ernst (7th—16:06.6) also engineered top-10 times this afternoon at Buffalo Park en route to a second-place team finish.
"This race is always good to see where we're at," said Heins. "We have a good, solid nucleus and now it's about plugging in a couple more pieces to really give our women the best chance to win."
Other athletes competing for the Lumberjack men today included Harvey Nelson (14th—23:59.5), Ryan Wolff (19th—24:32.5) and Kyle Havriliak (30th—25:17.4), while Emily Roughan (14th—16:35.6), Miranda Myers (17th—16:54.3), Carolyn Bethel (29th—17:20.8), Melanie Zibrat (32nd—17:27.9) Maggie Carruth (33rd—17:28.6) and Jessie Williams (39th—17:42.6) also logged times for the 'Jack women.
Next on the docket for NAU is the Sycamore Invitational hosted by Indiana State in Terre Haute, Ind., next Saturday, Sept. 10. For that race, which is also the site of this year's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, only the Lumberjack men will be traveling. The NAU women will not run again competitively until the Dave Murray Invitational on Friday, Sept. 16, in Tucson, Ariz.