Pierre races in NCAA Cross Country Championships

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- JU women’s cross country senior Joane Pierre will wrap the season at the NCAA Championships Saturday at noon in Louisville, Ky.


The Immokalee, Fla., native has had a year to remember setting both the JU 6K and 5K records as well as winning the program’s first conference individual title. With all that under belt, she considers the national meet a reward and ready to end her cross country career on a high note.

“I am really excited,” Pierre said. “The fact that I made it is an accomplishment in itself. I know that I still have to go out there and do my best, but it’s less pressure for me. Right now, it’s about having fun. At this point, I can’t say anything will go wrong. It’s about going out there and being my best.”

Pierre had a chance for this type of season during the 2011 campaign after earning consecutive first-place finishes prior to the A-Sun Championships. She was the favorite to win the conference meet, but finished fourth.

Despite the finish, Pierre was able to learn valuable lesson that carried into her senior season.

“It was definitely an eye-opener for me because I was supposed to win and ended up in fourth,” Pierre said. “I remember my reaction after the race. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever had for a race.

“Coach (Ron) Grigg told me it’s going to take that much energy out of me to finish the race. It’s something that I have to look back on and ask do I ever want to feel that way again. Mentally, I have been saying that to myself. ‘Do I want to have all of that regret at the end of a race when I know I could be better’? Since it’s my senior year, I knew had only one more shot at it. It’s either I go for it now or I could never be in this position again. That’s been my goal this season to have no regrets and go at it and the best I can to be where I can be.”

In 2012, Pierre exceeded her early expectations after being named preseason A-Sun Runner of the Year in the first coaches’ poll.

After opening with a second-place finish at the JU Short Course Duals, Pierre broke the 6k school record in 21:10.8 (at the FSU Invitational Oct. 5. She followed it up with a week later by winning the UCF Attack Challenge for the second straight season in 21:25.60.

Pierre kept a promise at the A-Sun Championships Oct. 29 that she made a year earlier by using that extra energy to win the meet in a JU 5K record time of 17:17.5. In the process, she also won A-Sun Runner of the Year honors and earned first time all-conference honors for the third time in four seasons.

At the NCAA South Region in Tallahassee, Pierre added to her success by breaking the 6k mark again in 20:22.1 (7th) to punch her ticket to a the championships.

Since coming to JU, Pierre has helped the Dolphins to their first team title, won an individual title, set two school records and earned four all-conference honors. One could expect an All-America honor Saturday could be the perfect ending to a story book career.

“That would be the icing on the top of the cake,” Pierre said with a smile when asked about earning All-America. “I am very proud I made it this far and to be where I am right now. The ultimate goal would be to get the All-America honor so that is definitely something I am striving for. It’s something I would love to accomplish but whatever happens, I am happy.”

Fans can watch Pierre live with the NCAA Championship video stream on