Track & field opens 2010 indoor season at Jimmy Carnes Invitational on Saturday

The JU track & field team will gets its first chance to compete in 2010 on Saturday as the Dolphins open the indoor season at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational in Gainesville, Fla.

This will be the first of two regular season indoor meets the Dolphins will participate in prior to competing for their fifth consecutive conference title at the A-Sun Championships on Feb. 25 in Johnson City, Tenn.

“Given the way training has been going, I know that each coach and every athlete is excited to compete on Saturday and Sunday,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg.

The Dolphins return 17 athletes from last year’s team that secured both the A-Sun indoor and outdoor championships for the fourth straight year. The group combined for 12 first place finishes and 29 all-conference performances at the championships in 2009.

This season, the Dolphins will have to look to replace the greatest athlete in program history, Natasha Harvey, but sophomore Stacey Young and junior Louise Kiernan look ready to handle some of the load.

Young had a solid first season with the Dolphins after earning “Most Outstanding Freshman Performer” honors at both conference meets. Kiernan helped the Dolphins break the school record in the 4x100-meter relay in consecutive meets before finishing the year competing for the Irish National Team at the Irish National Under-23 Championships and European Under-23 Championships.

There is also some promise with freshman Charlene Charles, who had a won the pentathlon at the Carol Robinson Pentathlon in Manhattan, Kan. with a school-record 3,670 points back on Dec. 11.

Charles, who won the event by more than 460 points, shattered Natasha Harvey’s record of 3,626 points set on Jan. 21, 2007 at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark.

The native of France won the high jump portion with a school record leap of 5’5.25” (1.66m). She also produced a leap of 18’8.5” (5.70m) to take first in the long jump and ran a lifetime best time of 8.70 to win the 60-meter hurdles portion. Charles finished second in the 800-meter (2:32.08) and third in the shot put (29’6” (8.99m)) to round out her victory.