Track & field adds four athletes for the 2011 season
After coming off the Atlantic Sun Conference’s first Triple Crown, the JU track and field team took steps in an effort to repeat next season by adding four athletes for the 2010-2011 campaign.

The Dolphins added transfers Bailee Hedstrom (St. Augustine, Fla.), Svenja Meyer (Appen, Germany) and Akeela Bravo (Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago), while signing Sarah Mecklenburg (Jena Germany) to help strengthen the track & field program.

“This class reinforces our philosophy of having a balanced team,” said JU head coach Ron Grigg. “We have replaced what we lost to graduation in cross country while also improving our middle distance and distance events on the track. Svenja has run some good cross country times in the tough European terrain. On the track, she is a steeple chase specialist who has good speed and range for the other middle distance events. Bailee has experience being a team leader who brings a great attitude and desire to find her top level of performance. I am very excited to add them to our four returning all-A-Sun cross country performers from last season’s championship team.

“At the same time, we have addressed the short sprints, long jump and all of the throws. While we didn’t lose any of our sprint and jump talent from last year’s team ,we are looking to the future with Sarah. She will add depth to our 4x100-meter relay team that has run under 44.9 each of the last two seasons and she will help push Charlene Charles in the long jump. Akeela has high level international and SEC experience. She is versatile and will be near the top of the conference in the discus, hammer and shot put. With the return of Ronnisha Hall from her redshirt season and Hillary Crook for her final indoor season, we think we will have a formidable group at the top of the conference performance lists.”

Hedstrom, who competed locally at Nease High School, was the number one runner for University of West Florida as a sophomore last season. She ended the cross country season with a 16th place finish at the NCAA Division II South Region Championships with a time of 23:16 (6K). At the FSU Relays this spring, she ran 18:03 in the 5,000-meter to set a new school record.

Meyer arrives from the University of Hamburg, but will be a transfer with freshman eligibility. She has personal best of 11:03 in the 3,000-meter steeple chase, 10:15 for 3,000-meter and 4:42 for 1,500-meter.

Bravo will join the Dolphins after spending the last two seasons as a thrower on the University of Tennessee track & field team. She has a personal best of 157’10” in the hammer, 145’10” in the discus and 45’1” in the shot put. Bravo also represented Trinidad at the Pan Am Junior championships in 2009.

Mecklenburg, a freshman from Sportgymnasium Jena High School in Germany, has a personal best of 11.87 for the 100-meter and 19’ 5.75” in the long jump.