Saturday, October 31, 2009
Dolphins Make a Fall Splash
by Matt Wilson
Dominance. That has been the easy way to describe the Jacksonville University women’s Track & Field team. The Dolphins have won four straight outdoor titles and four straight indoor titles.
Hurdle. Belmont’s women’s cross country squad owned seven of the last eight A-Sun championship trophies.
“Belmont University has set the standard and the reason that the whole conference is getting better in cross country is because of how good Belmont’s women have been forever,” said A-Sun Coach of the Year Ron Grigg. “We aspired to meet that level and that is why you saw such fast times today.”
The Dolphins cleared that hurdle with ease at the 2009 Atlantic Sun Cross Country Championship as six runners finished in the top-14. What some spectators may have seen as a one-trick pony without the depth to compete in cross country can now claim an unprecedented trifecta: owning all three track related conference titles in one calendar year.
“We want to be a balanced team with great throwers, great jumpers, great sprinters and great distance runners. Our middle distance kids have performed on the track all along. We just haven’t put it together in cross country,” Grigg said. “We were close last year. I guess there is a learning curve to winning championships and that is what we told the team. They were ready last year and we finally got it done this year.”
Senior Elsabeth Goshu led a pod of Dolphins across the finish line, placing third in her final championship.
“I am happy to be part of it. We worked really hard,” added an animated Goshu. “We were excited before the race started and are now very happy. We are proud to bring this trophy to our University and our great head coach.”
Running 5000 meters around winding turns, across gravel roads and through soccer fields can be mentally grueling and sometimes lonely. The JU track & field contingent was determined not to let their distance teammates endure that extra challenge. Nearly 15 student-athletes made the just over one hour drive down to Stetson.
"Cross country is a really hard sport and it is crucial to have people there to support you. Having that support gives you the extra push you need to pass the next person,” said Unique Singleton, a junior sprinter.
They were among a large number of enthusiastic supporters at the Sterling Sports Complex and may have made a difference.
“It was awesome. I heard them at every corner and it is a great feeling to hear them,” Goshu said.
When Goshu and her teammates came across the finish line with plenty of room to spare to claim the title, it was special for their track & field teammates as well.
“We were so excited. Some of us even got teary eyed and almost cried. We hope that this will carry over into track season,” said Singleton.
Singleton and her track teammates’ chance to continue the title streak and build towards winning all three titles in a single academic year takes place at the Indoor Track & Field Championships on Feb. 26 - 27, 2010 from the Memorial Center in Johnson City, Tenn.