FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (November 11, 2020) – The Northern Arizona University Track & Field and Cross Country program welcomed six new distance runners to the team on Wednesday as they signed their National Letters of Intent. The class includes four men and two women.
“NAU has consistently shown that being in a selfless environment yields results that couldn’t be achieved alone. I want to learn from and add to that positive environment,” Scherer said.
Also from Wisconsin comes Grotenhuis from Slinger High School in Slinger, Wisconsin. Grotenhuis is a two-time Wisconsin State Championship Cross Country Runner-Up, placing second in 2019 and 2020. His best times are 4:23 in the 1600m while in the 3200m his PR is a time of 9:17.
“I chose NAU because of the genuine and selfless nature of the coaching staff and the team. When I came to Flagstaff for the first time this summer, I was blown away by the hard working nature of this community,” Grotenhuis said. “I know this environment will help foster my ultimate potential. I am excited to get to work and chase my ultimate potential with this team in the mountains. Go Jacks!”
Kessler hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan where he attends Ann Arbor Skyline High School. He holds personal best times in the 800m (1:53), 1600m (4:08), and 3200m (8:53), and was the 2020 Michigan State Championship Cross Country runner-up.
“I chose NAU because of the mountains, the pine trees, the academic culture, the playful team, the tradition of excellence and the next-level coaching,” Kessler said.
The three-time Alaska State Cross Country Champion leaves the Anchorage mountains for the Flagstaff peaks. Merchant set personal bests in the 1600m with a time of 4:21, and the 3200m with 8:59. He also earned NXN All-American honors in 2019.
“I chose NAU not only because it had the best team, the best individuals and one of the best coaches in the NCAA, but also because I wanted to be a part of a special culture. I was also swayed because my training partner ended up signing there last year,” Merchant said. “In the years leading up to this we would talk about how much we liked Flagstaff and the NAU team. This planted a seed in my heart to really want to become part of NAU and experience Flagstaff to its fullest.”
Moore, an eight-time national medalist, comes to Flagstaff all the way from Brisbane, Australia. She has personal bests in the 1500m (4:26), 3K (9:32), 5K (16:44) and 2000m steeplechase (6:45).
Moore is a member of the Australian U20 IAAF World Cross Country Team and placed second at the U20 Australian World Cross Country Trials. She was also on the Australian U17/U18 talent recognition list.
“I selected NAU to be part of a running culture and a developing women’s team, combined with living in one of the most beautiful places in the world, guided by well-credentialed coaches,” Moore said.
Fenske is an All-American from Farmington, Minnesota. She set personal bests in the 1600m with a time of 4:54, and the 3200m with 10:26. Fenske is a four-time NXN Qualifier, and the 2018 Minnesota State Outdoor Track Champion in the 1600m.
“I chose NAU for many reasons! The women and coaches that are there now were very welcoming and I felt as though I was a part of a family during the recruiting process. On top of that, Flagstaff is the perfect area to train, and I love the variety of trails that are available,” Fenske said. “I cannot wait to be part of such an amazing program!”