Cross country teams ready for busy week starting Friday

Coming off their best meet of the season, the Dolphins prepare for a busy week as the JU cross country teams compete in two different meets starting on Friday.

The men’s squad, along with a portion the women’s team, is scheduled to race at the Sodexho Stetson Invitational in DeLand, Fla. on Friday. Stetson’s course is also the site of the Atlantic Sun Championship, which will take place in less than three weeks.

The other half of the women’s team will travel to Terra Haute, Ind., the site of the NCAA Championships, on Saturday to compete in the Indiana State Pre-Nationals. Senior Elsabeth Goshu, senior Ali Ritter, junior Anastasia Fokina, junior Susanne Klungtveit, junior Kelli Midden and freshman Joane Pierre will race against 37 other teams in the white division at 12:55 p.m.

“Friday night at Stetson will be a good chance for our men and a few of our women to run on the conference championship course,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “We are very familiar with the venue as we have raced there every year. We have had two training opportunities on the course this year as well.

“Pre Nationals is both a reward and a challenge for our current top six women. They have elevated our program over the years and they deserve an opportunity to test themselves in the toughest cross country race there is other than Nationals itself. The colder weather, the longer 6k distance and the outstanding level of competition will all test the women’s abilities. This will be great preparation for the conference championship in two weeks.”

The women’s team comes into the meets this week after taking the top five individual spots to win the Invitational on Oct. 2. The victory was the Dolphins second this season and sixth in the last two years.

Goshu ran the third fastest time in school history (18:01.49) to win the event, while JU’s four other top five finishes also had times that ranked on the all-time list.

The men’s team continued to show improvement as they took fifth place at the invitational. The Dolphins had three runners in the top 50, including junior Andrew Maedel who placed sixth with a time of 16:16.22.