Women’s cross country takes top spot in A-Sun preseason poll
After securing its first A-Sun title last season, the JU women’s cross country team will be in the cross hairs of the rest of the conference after being picked first in the season-opening 2010 Atlantic Sun Conference preseason poll.

JU, the defending 2009 champion, received 116 points (including nine first-place votes) to take the top spot over cross-town rival North Florida who took second with 98 points. USC Upstate (89), Kennesaw State (89) and Lipscomb (83) made up the rest of the top five. Belmont, FGCU, Campbell, Mercer, ETSU and Stetson rounded out the rest of the poll.

“We are appreciative for the respect of the conference coaches,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “However, we have a long road ahead of us. As always, we will assess our fitness upon arrival and chart a course with the final goal of being healthy and in top form for the A-Sun Championship. We have a good mix of veterans and newcomers who will have a chance to contribute throughout the season.”

In 2009, the Dolphins posted another career year by winning three meets, including having six of the top 14 runners at the conference meet to win their first A-Sun Championship. They also finished a program-best ninth at the NCAA South Regionals and were ranked as high as eighth in the USTFCCCA South Region Polls.

JU returns six runners from last year’s championship squad led by seniors Anastasia Fokina, Susanne Klungtveit and Kelli Midden. Fokina finished seventh at the A-Sun Championship in 2009 with a time of 18:10 to earn first team all-conference honors, while Klungtveit (18:31) and Midden (18:35) each earned second team all-conference accolades.

The Dolphins open the season on Friday, Sept. 3, with the JU Short Course Duals on the JU golf course.