WEDNESDAY, APRIL 13, 2011
TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW: Combined events & jumps
The JU track & field team will battle for its sixth straight outdoor title at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships starting Friday at UNF’s Hodges stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

JUDolphins.com is previewing the Dolphins squad each day to get you ready for the conference meet. In today’s final feature looking at the groups, we highlight the combined events and jump areas.

COMBINED EVENTS:

The heptathlon is the first event that the Dolphins will start with on Friday at the conference meet.

Junior Alana Walker and sophomore Rayanna Johnson are slated to represent the Dolphins in the heptathlon.

Last season, Walker won two of the final three heptathlon events to finish in third place (3,977 points) at the conference meet. Johnson competed at Alabama State last season and finished fifth in the heptathlon at the SWAC Championships with 3,990 points.

“The combined events group has always been the bread and butter of this program,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “We pride ourselves in having versatile athletes who can compete at the A-Sun level in many events. Both Alana and Rayanna will have busy weekends competing in the heptathlon then coming back for more scoring opportunities in individual hurdle and jump events.”

JUMPS:

The jumps group has been one of the Dolphins key areas over the last few outdoor seasons.

Johnson will compete with junior Stacey Young in the long and triple jump events. Freshman Sarah Mecklenburg will also join Johnson and Young in the long jump before participating alongside sophomore Charlene Charles in the high jump.

Young performed well during the outdoor campaign after posting the Dolphins’ top leaps in the long jump (18’2.5”) at the UCF Black & Gold Challenge and triple jump (39’2.5”) at the UCF Invitational.

Johnson recorded a personal-best leap of 37’5.7” in the triple jump at the UCF Invitational, while Mecklenburg had a 5’1” in the high jump at the UNF Spring Break Open.

“Stacey has had a breakout season in the hurdles and the jumps,” said Grigg. “We have missed Charlene for the entire outdoor season. She is back training, and while she can likely contest more events, we are being conservative and easing her back into competition. She will not contest her usual extraordinary schedule of multiple events.

“This is what makes this team so special. Even though we will not fully utilize a three time A-Sun Championship MVP, we have enough talent and depth across all of the event areas to still be in contention for a team title. I think we have a half-dozen MVP caliber student-athletes in our program. With the A-Sun improving each year, we will need all of them to be on the top of their game for us to have the outcome we desire.”

Log back onto JUDolphins.com tomorrow as we highlight the entire A-Sun Championship in our final feature.