June 2007

Lumberjacks Have New Swimmers, Academic Honors

NAU Swimming/Diving Signs 11 Recruits, Three From Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.  – The Northern Arizona swimming and diving team has
signed 11 recruits for the 2007-08 season, as announced by head coach Andy Johns. Eight swimmers and three divers make up the group, which will be helping to fill the void of six graduating seniors who hold five individual school records between them.

The eight swimmers to sign with the program are Brittany Curry (Spring, Texas/Klein Oak), Abbi Gerstmar (Durham, Ore./Tualatin), Kim Kopra (Kamuela, Hawaii/Hawaii Prep), Ashley Kurtz (Peoria, Ariz./Sandra Day O’Connor), Vivian Landeck (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements), Kristen Miernicki (Phoenix, Ariz./Xavier College Prep), Katie Schafer (Renton, Wash./Hazen) and Monica Veit (Anchorage, Alaska/South Anchorage).

Three divers round out the group including Lanette Christensen (Casper,
Wyo./Kelly Walsh), Megan Collier (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunnyslope) and Taryn Harris (Beaverton, Ore./Wenatchee).

“We’re really excited about all the girls coming in,” said Johns. “We’re
excited they chose NAU to continue their swimming and diving careers as well as their education. They all seem to be great kids and genuinely enthusiastic about coming here which will really add to us hopefully having another great year.”

Brittany Curry will focus on the butterfly and also in the 100 and 200 freestyle events. “Brittany comes out of a good club team in Cy-Fair (Cypress Fairbanks),” said Johns, “under coach Clayton Cagle.”

Abbi Gerstmar specializes in the butterfly, and Johns says she “comes in
with times that compliment our 200 butterfliers. She will add depth there for sure.”

Kim Kopra is a standout in the breaststroke in Hawaii, much like graduating NAU senior Cassie Lyons. “Kim is a four-sport athlete in high school,” said Johns. “We’re very excited about what she can do when she’s just focusing on swimming.” Kopra considered attending Hawaii (second place in the WAC in 2006-07) before deciding on NAU.

One of three Arizona recruits, Ashley Kurtz was a club teammate of NAU
freshman Kimber Morelli on the Brophy East Swim Team. “We are excited about Ashley’s potential and her size,” said Johns, “and her Dad is a NAU alum which is great.” Kurtz will swim sprint freestyle and backstroke for the Lumberjacks.

Assistant NAU Coach Brian Smith is a former assistant of Tim Hill, who
coached at ASU and now coaches freestyle swimmer Vivian Landeck in the First Colony Swim Team Club in Sugar Land, Texas. “That’s a nice connection for us,” said Johns. “Vivian will help us in the freestyle and potentially in the relays as well.”

Landeck and Curry now make five Texans on the NAU roster, which Johns
says, “is a good place for us to recruit.” He also notes that the WAC Championships are held every year in San Antonio, which not only makes it great to have student-athletes from Texas but also is a part of why they choose NAU.

The second Arizona recruit, Kristen Miernicki, also swims the backstroke
and will help in the 200 and 500 freestyle. “Kristen has versatility and range,” said Johns, “and she will have a potential impact in a few spots.”

Katie Schafer, a freestyle swimmer out of Washington, currently swims
for the Bellevue Swim Club in Seattle. “Katie’s best times have her being a finalist in the WAC,” said Johns. Schafer also considered attending Washington State in the Pac-10 as well as San Diego State and Northern Colorado.

Monica Veit comes to NAU from Anchorage, Alaska, and swims the breaststroke and individual medley. “Monica is coming in to one of our deepest spots so she’ll be in a big training group with a lot of people to try and catch.”

A diver out of Casper, Wyo., Lanette Christensen “has some limited experience,” says diving coach Nikki Huffman, “but shows great talent. She’s never had much access to a 3-meter board but still gives strong performances on it. I think when she gets into this program she will take off and do great things.”

Megan Collier, NAU’s third recruit out of Arizona, signed with the Lumberjacks last fall. “I expect she will make an immediate impact,” says Huffman, “and step right into the third or fourth position.” Collier recently placed second in the state 4A meet on the 1-meter.

Also expected to make an immediate impact is Taryn Harris from Beaverton, Ore. “Taryn is very dedicated and committed,” said Huffman. “She has not been diving that long but actually moved just for better training.”

Eight NAU Swimmers, Divers Earn Academic All-WAC Honors

DENVER, Colo. – The 2006-07 academic all-WAC women’s swimming and diving team has been announced and includes eight members of the Northern Arizona team. To be eligible, a student-athlete must have completed at least one academic year, have at least a 3.00 cumulative grade point average and have participated in at least 50 percent of the team’s contests.

Juniors Danielle Borth and Katie Munch and senior Shannon Colvin earned the honor for a third straight year while juniors Becky Triemstra and Julie Ward earned it for the second time. NAU just completed its third year as an affiliate member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

Only Idaho had more members of its team receive the honor (nine) while San Jose State and New Mexico State also had eight honorees.

Academic All-WAC Honorees for 2006-07 are Tami Binek, So.; Danielle Borth, Jr.; Elizabeth Brook, So.; Shannon Colvin, Sr.; Maria Hechanova, So.; Katie Munch, Jr.;
Becky Triemstra, Jr., and Julie Ward, Jr.