Track & field add four athletes for the 2008-09 season
After coming off its third consecutive Atlantic Sun Conference title sweep, the JU track & field team shows no signs of slowing down as the Dolphins retool with the signing of transfers Ronnisha Hall (Pahokee, Fla.), Louise Kiernan (Dublin, Ireland ), Susanne Klungtveit (Haugesund, Norway) and Kelli Midden (Hypoluxo, Fla.) for the 2008-09 season.

“As our program continues to improve, we have needed to cast a wider net in the recruiting process,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “In an effort to find athletes that could immediately step in and help our team at the conference and regional level, we found four excellent transfers students we are very excited about.”

Hall earned five NJCAA All-American honors at Northern Iowa Area Community College with personal bests in the shot put (44’9.5”), the hammer throw (148’ 7), the indoor weight (53’ 4.75), the discus (148’ 7) and the javelin (125’ 6).

“Ronnisha’s junior college marks make her a potential 30+ point scorer at our outdoor conference meet,” said Grigg. “Her ability to throw all four events, and the quality of her marks, will allow us to set a goal of being the best throw’s group in the conference. Coach Vais at NIACC describes her as incredibly strong but still unpolished technically. Coach Bambi Carson is excited to help Ronnisha continue her development.”

Kiernan, a transfer from Dunlin Institute of Technology, has a personal mark of 11.83 in the 100-meter and 24.90 in the 200-meter. She also has posted a career-best time of 7.60 in the 60-meters.

“Louise is one of the best young sprinters in Ireland and she fills a strong need in our program,” Grigg said. “We have been looking for a quality 100/200 specialist and we feel Louise will lead us in this area.”

Klungtveit comes to JU by way of University of Mobile and will help the Dolphins on the cross country side after posting a personal-record of 19:11 as a freshman. She also posted a perfect 4.0 grade point average in the classroom.

“Susanne is an interesting story,” said Grigg. “She came to the states to play soccer goalie, but the cross country coach needed bodies and a month later she was finishing in the top 100 at the NAIA national championships. She is now fully devoted to running and piling on some significant mileage. I am really intrigued by her potential.”

Like Klungtveit, Midden will also be called upon in the distance department after she ran a 19:12 during her time at the University of West Florida.

“Kelli has the mentality of a pure distance runner,” Grigg. “She loves to train and challenge her potential. She comes from a great high school program at Pope John Paul II and we feel her attitude will set a standard for our entire distance and middle distance group to follow.”

Another athlete set to make a difference for the Dolphins is Stacey Young (Lithonia, Ga.), who redshirted last season at JU after recovering from an injury sustained in high school. Prior to her injury, she posted bests of 14.33 in the 100-meter hurdles, 44.03 for the 300-meter hurdles and 38’7.25 in the triple jump, which will help make up for the loss of Simone Clark to graduation.

“Stacey is now fully healthy and ready to go,” said Grigg. “She has expressed some desire to try the pentathlon and heptathlon. She will be a major contributor for us right away.”

The Dolphins head into the 2008-09 season after winning their third consecutive A-Sun Outdoor and Indoor track titles in 2008. Natasha Harvey paced the way for the Dolphins after winning “Outstanding Field Performer” at both events, while also earning All-America honors in the long jump at both NCAA Championship events. She also joined fellow teammate Shaquania Lundy in Eugene, Ore. to compete in the long jump at the Olympic trials.

The JU cross country team will kick things off on Friday, Aug. 29 with the JU Short Course Duals.