TUESDAY, APRIL 12, 2011
TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW: Sprints, hurdles & relays groups
The JU track & field team will battle for its sixth straight outdoor title at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships starting Friday at UNF’s Hodges stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.

JUDolphins.com is previewing the Dolphins squad each day to get you ready for the conference meet. Today’s feature is on the pulse of the JU squad as we highlight the sprint, hurdle & relay groups.

SPRINTS:

The sprint group has carried the Dolphins to championships in each of the last two conference meets in Jacksonville. In 2010, the Dolphins took the top two spots in the 100, 200 and 400-meter events en route to an conference record 212 points to win the title.

In this year’s championships, senior Louise Kiernan will look to defend her title in the 100-meter after winning the event in 2010 with a time of 11.84. She ran the 100-meter at the Pepsi Florida Relays on April 2, finishing with a time of 12.02(w).

Kiernan will also join fellow seniors Unique Singleton and Danielle Davenport in the 200-meter. Singleton is the defending champion in the event after taking the title with a time of 24.29, while Kiernan was fourth (24.83). Davenport and Singleton has each run a 24.16 in the 200-meter during the current outdoor season.

Davenport and Singleton will also race in the 400-meter for JU. Singleton is also the defending champion in the event by posting a program and conference record time of 53.80 in last year’s meet. She ran a season-best time of 54.67 at the UCF Invitational, while Davenport posted a 54.46 in the event at the Pepsi Florida Relays.

“Our goals for the meet, as Coach (Ron) Grigg always says, is to keep raising the bar,” said Singleton. “It is always expected for everyone to get out there and run personal best. This follows along with my personal expectations to run personal bests and qualify for the NCAA preliminary round, as well as break the school record in the 400-meter dash. Some of the previous meets this year have helped me get to this point. I ran some 800's early on this season which I feel have made me stronger. I also feel Coach did a great job setting up our schedule as far as competition. We've gone to some really competitive meets this season which always pulls out good performances.”

HURDLES:

Like the sprints, the Dolphins have been to excel in the hurdles at the conference meet.

Senior J’Zotta Rolle, junior Stacey Young, junior Alana Walker and sophomore Rayanna Johnson will each race for JU in the 100 and 400-meter hurdle events.

Rolle is looking to pick up the 400-meter hurdle victory for the third straight season after winning the 2009 title with a time of 1:01.22 and posting a 1:01.42 to win the event last season. In 2011, Rolle ran a time of 1:01.32 to finish fifth at the UCF Invitational. She also ran a time of 14:35 in the 100-meter hurdles.

Young recorded a personal best 100-meter hurdle time of 13.77 at the UCF Invitational on March 25. She also registered a 1:02.72 at the 400-meter hurdles at the Pepsi Florida Relays.

Walker is hoping to build off her fifth-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles at the A-Sun Championships after opening the season with a time of 1:04.44 at the UNF Spring Break Open. Johnson would also match Young at the UCF Invitational with a personal best in the 100-meter hurdles after running a time of 15.28.

RELAYS:

The Dolphins have performed well in the relays during the last two outdoor meets in Jacksonville.

In 2009, the Dolphins broke the program and A-Sun record in the 4x100-meter after recording a time of 44.82. They posted a time of 3:36.96 to win the 4x400-meter relay last season and won the 4x100-meter again with a time of 45.16.

Freshman Sarah Mecklenburg is slated to run a leg of the 4x100-meter on Saturday with Davenport, Kiernan and Singleton. The group logged a time of 46.11 (17th) in the event at the Pepsi Florida Relays.

Davenport (54.7) and Singleton (53.1) combined with sophomore Bienna Freeman (55.3) and sophomore Joane Pierre (56.2) to run a time of 3:39.26 in the 4x400-meter relay (9th) at the same meet.

"My ultimate goal for this meet is to be a strong competitor for my teammates, my coaches and myself, as well as cheer them on in their events," said Davenport. "I am very confident that these talented ladies will rise to the occasion and compete to the best of their abilities and highest potential. The track meets leading to conference have been great opportunities for me to showcase my talents and produce fast times in our conference as well as nationally. With this being my last conference, I want to enjoy it and make it a memorable one."

HEAD COACH RON GRIGG ON TODAY’S GROUPS: “I am really proud of this sprint and hurdle group. We are full of senior leadership and we will require the same excellence from them that they have displayed for four years. I can’t say enough about what Louise, Unique, Danielle and J’Zotta have meant to this program. I hope our entire team will perform well to honor our group of seniors.”

Log back onto to JUDolphins.com tomorrow as we do our final group feature on the combined events and jumps.