JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eager for a ninth straight Atlantic Sun Conference indoor track & field title, the Jacksonville University Dolphins are preparing to travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the Wake Forest Invitational on Saturday.
Despite time off during the holiday break, Head Coach Ron Grigg said that he believes the team is ready after a strong fall season.
“The fall was excellent. I think that we left the beginning of December in great shape having accomplished everything we wanted to in the fall,” Grigg said.
“For most college coaches, this is the most difficult time of the year because the team leaves for three weeks just before you’re getting ready to train. So you’ve spent all fall training and then just before your first competition they go away for upwards of a month and it really is completely in their hands as to how much work they can get done.”
The Fins are led by a rather veteran group, Grigg said, including lone senior Svenja Meyer and seven juniors. Coming off a great cross country season in the fall, Meyer led the Dolphins in all five races and earned all-regional recognition at the NCAA South Regional Cross Country Championships and was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference First Team after the A-Sun Championships. Joining the Fins this season are five freshmen competing for the first time.
“It’s an even distribution; about a quarter of our team will be freshmen. But they’re pretty accomplished and two of them were distance runners who have already had a cross country season of collegiate competition with them so they’ll be fine. It’s really just two freshmen sprint hurdlers who will get their first taste of collegiate competition.”
Grigg said the team has high expectations, especially to defend their title.
“We have high expectations, but we don’t know what we’re actually going to get,” Grigg said. “You know we have to have appropriate expectations for the competition on Saturday. It’s just a beginning point.
“Our expectations are always the same for the season," continued Grigg. "We’re looking to compete for a conference championship. We’ve had some pretty good success recently, we know what it’s going to take, and so it’s a process.”
The Fins have three regular-season competitions before the A-Sun Championships on Feb. 21 back in Winston-Salem. They compete at the Wake Forest Invitational this Saturday, Jan. 11, at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational in Gainesville on Jan. 17 and round-out at the Samford Invitational in Birmingham, Ala. on Feb. 8.
“With each one of those competitions, each one of our meets, each we’re hoping to just take one step closer and be ready for a final product when late February comes around.”