Cross country runs to another top 5 finish
The NAU men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Stillwater, Okla. to participate in the Oklahoma State Cowboy Jamboree, the oldest cross country race in America. The men’s team ran to a third place finish in the 8,000-meter course and the women’s team paced themselves to a fourth place finish in the 6,000-meter course.
Lumberjack senior Diego Estrada beat more than 300 competitors on the men’s side and finished the race in first place, with an overall time of 23:34.
“The way the course is set up I didn’t see [Diego] until the last 400 meters. He came out of the woods and he had a good 20 meters on the [next] guy,” said director of track & field and cross country Eric Heins, via NAU Athletics. “Something happened to him when he went into the woods and got into the tougher section of the course that he caught the guy and came right by him. I was very pleased with the way Diego went out there and ran that race.”
The men’s team placed all of its scoring runners in the top 55 and three runners placed into the top 20. Estrada took home top honors, while senior Jordan Chipangama finished 17th with a time of 24:24 and junior Tim Freriks finished 20th with a time of 24:35.
The women’s team had two runners finish in the top 10, with junior Rochelle Kanuho coming in 7th with a time of 17:29 and senior Kortnee Burton right behind her at 8th with a time of 17:32. This was the first race Burton had run since her injury last season, but that did not slow her down in the slightest.
“[Kortnee is] like a machine: very efficient. She doesn’t really get stressed out or anything,” Heins said, via NAU Athletics. “It was good to see her come back and pick up where she left off from the outdoor season, if not better.”
This was also the first race for many of the new freshmen runners, including Kerri Lenihan (75th) and Caroline Hogardh (33rd).
“It’s a different experience than what you’re used to coming out of high school. I thought that they handled it well and ran pretty competitively,” Heins said, via NAU Athletics.
The Lumberjacks next meet is the Grand Canyon Invitational on October 8th in Phoenix.