Pierre voted A-Sun Preseason Runner of the Year
Senior JU women’s cross country athlete Joane Pierre was named Preseason Runner of the Year, while the Dolphins were picked third in the A-Sun preseason coaches’ poll released by the league office.

Pierre, JU’s top runner back from 2011, got the votes from the coaches for the overall honor and had a late surge from Dolphin nation to win her the fan vote for the Runner of the Year honor on the A-Sun Facebook page.

The Immokalee, Fla., native has earned first team all-conference honors at all three A-Sun Championships, including guiding JU to its first league title in 2009. Pierre is one of JU best chances to secure the program’s first individual conference title after finishing third (2010) and fourth (2011) in the last two A-Sun meets.

Joane has gotten progressively better each season,” JU head coach Ron Grigg said. “I know she has high expectations for her senior season.”

Pierre has won at least two events in each of the last two seasons. In 2010, Pierre won the UF Mountain Dew Invitational with the fastest 5K mark (17:33.50) all-time at JU. Last season, she won the UCF Attack Challenge with the second fastest 6K program time of 21:47.32 to earn her A-Sun Runner of the Week honors.

Defending A-Sun champion Lipscomb (100 points) received all 10 first-place votes to get picked as the preseason favorite. North Florida is second at 90 points, while JU (75), Mercer (53), Florida Gulf Coast (49) rounded out the top five. USC Upstate, Northern Kentucky, East Tennessee State, Kennesaw State and Stetson made up the rest of the poll.

The Dolphins will return five of their top six runners this season that placed fifth in last season’s A-Sun Championships. Along with Pierre in the mix, the Dolphins will look towards 2011 A-Sun second team all-conference runner Svenja Meyer.

“We return a veteran team,” Grigg said. “We recognize that the track performances of our middle distance and distance groups have been better by comparison to their cross country results. It will be our challenge to extend their abilities to the 5k and 6k distances over the cross country terrain.”

The Dolphins open the 2012 season Aug. 31 with the JU Short Course Duals on campus.