Cross country races in A-Sun Championships on Saturday

The JU cross country teams will race in its most important meet of the season as the Dolphins compete in the Atlantic Sun Championships on Saturday morning in DeLand, Fla.

The women’s squad will be in search of their first conference championship after finishing a close second during last season’s meet. The men’s team has shown steady improvement throughout the season and look to produce their best finish of the year.

“Our goal is to always have our best performances during championship season,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “The A-Sun meet is very important to our team and to our University. We are ready to produce our best effort.”

The JU women are in the midst of another strong season in 2009. The Dolphins have won two of their five meets and had runners earn their way on the school’s all-time list during the last two races.

The Dolphins have been ranked in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association South Region poll - starting the year 11th and climbing their way up to eighth in the latest release on Oct. 19. JU has also taken the top spot in the last three A-Sun coaches’ polls.

Senior Elsabeth Goshu has paced the women’s team in every meet this season, including producing results on the 5k and 6k all-time lists in the last two meets.

At the 2008 A-Sun Championships, the Dolphins nearly pulled off an upset over defending champion Belmont with a program-best second place finish behind all-conference efforts from Goshu, Susanne Klungtveit, Alyssa Deal and Ali Ritter. The four all-conference honors by JU were the most by any school during the meet.

On the men’s side, the Dolphins have been led all season by junior Andrew Maedel. He opened the season winning the individual portion of the JU Short Course Duals and took sixth with a time of 16:16.22 in the Invitational on Oct. 2.

The Dolphins have also seen improvement in freshman Zack Smith and junior Gene Sarsfield, who have finished as the JU’s second and third top runners in the last two meets.