Freshmen shine in outdoor debuts as 14 qualify for Big Sky Championships
BY ALLI JENNEY —
In their first appearances of the outdoor season, freshmen Micael Ljungberg, Kylene Knutsen and Julia Viberg proved their place as members of Northern Arizona University’s track and field team with their performances in the Willie Williams Classic in Tucson on March 15 and 16.
Ljungberg threw 166 feet, 6 inches (50.75m), garnering his way to become the top-marking collegian in the men’s discus throw at Roy P. Drachmann Stadium. His toss, eight feet over the league standard, also secured a Big Sky Conference (BSC) qualifying mark.
In her javelin premiere, Knutsen tossed for 135-11.5 (41.44m), placing second and earning a BSC qualifier also. Viberg followed in suit with an impressive performance in the women’s discus throw, finishing third overall with a throw of 165 feet, 1.25 inches (50.32m).
The weekend continued to show promise for the rest of the team as well, as the Lumberjacks claimed 14 conference qualifiers in their opening meet.
On the men’s side, redshirt sophomore distance runner Cody Reed took first in the men’s steeplechase with a time of 9:33.92. Sophomore sprinter Dai McFadden placed fourth in the men’s 400-meter hurdles with a BSC qualifying time of 54.00. Senior sprinter Miles di Sabella earned a BSC qualifier too, in the men’s 100-meter dash at a time of 10.72, taking third overall.
Sophomore Deante Kemper cleared 6-10.75 (2.10m) in the men’s high jump, notching second overall. Kemper earned a BSC qualifier in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, along with fellow sophomore Vernon Jamison. Jamison took second in the event with a time of 14.54, while Kemper followed in fourth at 14.73. Redshirt junior Edgar Panford placed second with an outdoor career best in the men’s triple jump, with a mark of 50 feet, 1.5 inches.
For the women’s squad, redshirt senior distance runner Agnes Laurent secured a BSC qualifier and a second place finish in the women’s steeplechase with a time of 10:52.15. Senior Kasandra Vegas took fifth overall in the women’s hammer throw, and earned a BSC qualifying mark with a toss of 162-4.75 (49.50m).
The triple threat sprinting trio of freshman Isatu Fofanah and sophomores Shamelle Pless and Darriel Banks all earned BSC qualifying marks in the women’s 200-meter and 100-meter dashes.
The Lumberjacks will compete again at Sun Angel Stadium on Friday, March 22 and Saturday, March 23 in Tempe for the ASU Invitational.