BETHLEHEM, Penn. (October 1, 2021) – On Friday, the Northern Arizona women were decided champions after accomplishing a three-two advantage over Villanova in a tiebreaker at the Paul Short Run; the Lumberjacks also placed two champions, with All-American junior Taryn O’Neill (19:54.8) winning the gold race, and freshman Maggi Congdon (21:10.4) securing first in the open race. 

The Pennsylvania morning came early for the ‘Jacks, as the east coast time difference meant warm-ups began in the wee hours of their regular Flagstaff schedule, however, the NAU women woke up unphased and focused.

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In an exciting start to the day, Congdon, and senior Jenna McCaffrey (21:17.0), placed first and second in the women’s open race, with junior Luna Slater (22:18.9), redshirt sophomore Chloe Painter (22:32.0), and junior Abby Riordan (22:41.1) respectively finishing 13th, 20th, and 23rd in the women’s six-kilometer open race. 

With positive momentum in the air, the Northern Arizona women prepared for the gun of the gold race.

O’Neill, a well-established leader of the Lumberjack women’s team, earned first place overall, with senior Pipi Eitel (20:14.0), redshirt junior Hannah Behunin (20:37.0), sophomore Annika Reiss (20:38.1), and redshirt sophomore Jesselyn Bries (20:40.4) following seventh, 23rd, 25th, and 29th sequentially to score a competitive total of 85 points.  

Meanwhile, Villanova completed the race with the exact same point total (85), initiating a tiebreaker; after analyzing both teams’ performances, NAU was named victorious, as junior Bryn Morley (20:56.2), the sixth Lumberjack finisher, scored lower (41 points) than Villanova’s sixth runner, senior Mkenna Keegan (62 points).

Redshirt freshman Elise Stearns (21:00.2) and Meagan Van Pelt (21:02.4) were also right behind Morley, respectively finishing 44th and 46th, while freshman Alexis Kebbe (21:15.0) and senior Delaney Rasmussen (21:25.0) rounded out the team finishing 60th and 72nd. 

The Lumberjack women displayed unity today, truly showcasing the importance of each athlete and every point. 

For the first time since the George Kyte Classic, the men and women will compete together at the Florida State University Pre-National in two weeks. 

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