JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Following an outstanding season that saw the Dolphins place second at the ASUN Conference Championship, Jacksonville University's women's cross country team, along with two members of the men's team, will head to Tallahassee Friday, November 11 for the 2016 NCAA South Region Championships.
Hosted by Florida State at Apalachee Regional Park, the meet will begin with the women running a 6K at 8:30 a.m., followed by the men's 10K at 9:30 a.m.
"The women's team has proven to be our fastest group ever," said Head Coach Ronald Grigg, Jr. "That leaves us with the challenge to prove it on Friday. Ninth is our best-ever team finish; we are ranked 13th [in the South Region]. Let's see how good we can be! This race is a great chance to bring this season to a fitting conclusion, but also to take the next step in our progression with an eye towards being even better next year."
The women's second-place team finish at the ASUN Championship saw five runners named all-conference, three improved career 5K times, and three moved up on JU's All-Time 5K List.
Nora McUmber, Caitlin Marino, and Katy Solis each ran dominating performances to finish third, sixth, and 10th overall in the race. All three improved their career best times that rewrote JU's 5K record book.
McUmber and Marino were All-ASUN First Team selections, while Solis and Anna Karaseva were named to the All-ASUN Second Team. Mary Jeanne Assinzo earned a spot on the ASUN All-Freshmen Team as well.
Alex Turnock and Jeremy McDermet, selected to represent the men's team, have been outstanding all year. Turnock was the first Dolphin to cross the finish line in three of the four races JU entered this season, with McDermet pacing the Dolphins in the other.
"Jeremy and Alex have led us all year," added Grigg. "For Jeremy, this is his last collegiate cross country race that should provide a lasting memory. For Alex, this is his first Regionals and his first taste of a field of this quality that should teach him values lessons for the future."
Having run his season-best 8K at the ASUN Championship two weeks ago (27:28.78), Turnock has steadily improved his times from the beginning of the season, and McDermet's first appearance at the NCAA Regional Meet highlights his final season in a green and white uniform.
Thirty-six women's teams and 31 men's teams will be competing at Friday's event. The JU women, ranked 13th in the final USTFCCCA South Region poll, will be in contention with the other 14 regionally-ranked teams from the South Region, five other ASUN schools, one nationally-ranked squad, and 18 others on its quest to the NCAA National Championship.
The 36 women's teams competing include the following: Alabama, Alabama State, Auburn, Belmont, Central Florida, Chattanooga, Eastern Tennessee State, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida International, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Memphis, Mercer, Miami, Middle Tennessee State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Florida, Samford, South Alabama, South Florida, Southern Mississippi, Stetson, Tennessee, Tennessee-Martin, Tennessee Tech, Vanderbilt and UAB.
Last season, Vanderbilt placed first in the team results, while Chelsea Blaase from Tennessee won the individual crown.