FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University’s track and field program is coming off a very successful indoor season, sweeping the Big Sky Championships on both the men’s and women’s side. Brian Shrader and Lauren Laszczak’s performance this season garnered them a bid to the indoor national championships this weekend. The NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held in Albuquerque, N.M., beginning on Friday, March 14.
“For both of them it is a great accomplishment,” said director of track & field and cross country Eric Heins. “I really believe qualifying for indoors is the most difficult because you have to get a top-16 mark. For both of them to do that is very impressive.”
Shrader is slated to compete in both the 3000 and 5000-meter runs this weekend. The junior has been impressive in both events thus far this season as he was ranked first in the Big Sky for both the 3000 and 5000m run. Shrader has posted the seventh and 14th-best times in the nation for the 3000 and 5000m run, respectively. The junior posted a 3000m run time of 7:51.48 at the NAU Invitational and a 13:44.55 performance in the 5000m run at the Iowa State Classic.
“Brian is a really good racer and competitor so if the race goes out fast he will be ready for that with him going down in elevation and if it goes out slow he can use his speed,” said Heins. “Going down in elevation while most of his competitors will be going up, he should be able to recover much faster than others.”
Laszczak will compete in the women’s high jump this weekend. The senior is coming off a Big Sky Indoor championship in the event where she cleared a best height of 5-10 (1.78m). Laszczak’s season and career-best performance of 6-0 (1.83m) came at the Mountain T’s Invitational. The mark places her in a six-way tie for ninth-best height in the nation and is also tied for second-best in school history.
“I am very excited for Lauren to have this opportunity,” said graduate assistant coach Jade Ellis. “She has accomplished all her goals and hit all her marks this season. With all the work she has put in she has a good chance to be on the podium this weekend.”
ESPN3 will stream the meet live! Below is the schedule:
Men’s 5000m 8:25 p.m. (MT)
Women’s High Jump 3:30 p.m. (MT)
Men’s 3000m 7:30 p.m. (MT)
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