Cross Country Opens Season at UNF Invitational

Cross Country Opens Season at UNF Invitational

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men's and women's cross country programs will once again open their season at a local event.  On Saturday, the Dolphins will race in the UNF Invitational against fellow Atlantic Sun competitors North Florida, Florida Gulf Coast, Stetson, Lipscomb and Kennesaw State as well as in-state rivals Flagler and Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.

The men will compete first at 7:30 a.m. and the women's race will follow at 8:15 a.m.  

"It is always exciting to put the uniform back on and get racing," said Head Coach Ronald Grigg. "As we ease back into the competitive season, this meet will give us a chance to preview the same course on which we will contest the Atlantic Sun Championship in late October."

"We will also get an early glimpse of most of the teams in our conference.  The hot and humid conditions we have been training in and will likely race in Saturday will provide a good early season challenge that we hope to benefit from when we arrive later in the year in cooler, drier conditions."

Jacksonville will rely on a field of experienced runners – seniors Andrew Merrill and Nick Dale, juniors Katy Solis and Caitlin Marino and sophomore Kyla Siemens -- to guide the rest of the team.

At last year's event, the UNF 110% Invitational which also served as JU's first race of the season, Dale paced the Dolphins with a time of 16:45.26 while Merrill finished a little over a minute later in 17:45.44. On the women's side, the Dolphins used the race as a training run; however, as the season progressed so did the team.

In the 2015 Atlantic Sun Cross Country Preseason Poll, Jacksonville's women were picked to finish fourth in the conference while the men were chosen eighth.

Four regular season meets highlight the Dolphins' 2015 campaign with the furthest taking place in John's Island, S.C. at the College of Charleston Classic.

The Atlantic Sun Championship is scheduled for Oct. 30 on the campus of UNF.