Women’s cross country finishes third in Big Sky Conference Championships
By Gus Margiotta
The NAU Lumberjacks women’s cross country squad finished third overall, totaling 112 points, at the Big Sky Cross Country Championships, held Oct. 27 at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff.
Notching top finishes for the women’s team were senior Rochelle Kanuho in fifth with a time of 17:16.4 and freshman Rolonda Jumbo in tenth with a time of 17:46.84. NAU finished behind the reigning Big Sky champs, Weber State University (WSU) and Big Sky newcomer Southern Utah University (SUU).
“I’m not too disappointed,” Kanuho said. “I was pretty nervous before, a lot more nervous than I should have been.”
From the start of the race, it was evident the Jacks would be in the mix for top honors. Ninety sec
onds into the race, Kanuho led the pack of runners from the 11 Big Sky universities. Minutes later, Kanuho’s teammate Jumbo joined her at the front of the pack with SUU and WSU runners following.Within five minutes, the field drastically changed. WSU would run three runners to the front of the pack while SUU trailed them with four runners of their own. Runners rallied and jostled for the lead position, but their efforts would not be enough to knock off the dominating WSU trio of Amber Henry, Sarah Callister and Taylor Thornley .
“It was tough for us today,” Heins said. “I thought our girls were ready to compete with Weber and Southern Utah, even though they are very strong teams with experienced upperclassmen, and we’re still relatively young.”
Heins said he felt the team could use the performance as a learning process.
“I think we learned something from this in terms of our training,” Heins said. “We just need to learn how to show up on race day and not just have great workouts in practice.”
The No. 9 regionally ranked Lumberjacks will be back at it at the Mountain Region Championships at Collindale Golf Course in Ft. Collins, Colorado in two weeks, with the gun going off at noon Mountain time.