FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona University cross country men's and women's squad will travel with some athletes down to Mesa this weekend for the 2016 Mesa Thunderbird Classic tomorrow morning.
"This race will be great for the second group of guys, who maybe don't have has much experience, to get a taste of competition in case they get thrown into the fire later in the year," said Director of Cross Country Eric Heins. "On the women's side, we'll have a whole group go down so they can run on a fast course prior to racing at Wisconsin next weekend. That way, they can prepare themselves for a fast race in Madison."
Representing the Lumberjack men will be junior Sean Gregg, sophomores Ryan Wolff and Kyle Havriliak, redshirt-freshman James Fitzgerald and freshman Cade Burks. Running for the women will be two-time NCAA competitor Melanie Townsend, redshirt-senior Emily Roughan, senior Carolyn Bethel, redshirt-juniors Kylie Goo and Melanie Zibrat, redshirt-sophomore Maggie Carruth, and sophomores Miranda Myers, Mikayla Malaspina and Jessie Williams.
Of the men traveling to Mesa, Wolff and Havriliak are the only athletes to log official times for NAU, and that was at the George Kyte Classic to open the season. Wolff (19th) and Havriliak (30th) notched top-30 finishes, respectively.
For the women, Townsend is coming off a good showing at the 2016 Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 24, where she earned a 53rd-place finish with a 22:47 time. Malaspina has also be a solid runner for NAU in 2016, placing 6th and 69th, respectively, at George Kyte and Roy Griak. Goo, the Lumberjacks' top-finisher at George Kyte, will also look to make an impact on the score sheet this weekend.
The men's 8K will begin at 7:45 a.m. MT, followed by the women's 5K at 8:20. For updates and a full recap from tomorrow's Mesa T-Bird Classic, make sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.