Jacksonville Sports Day

Jacksonville Wins 10th Straight A-Sun Indoor Championship

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. – An impressive Sunday performance by Jacksonville including six individual wins powered the Dolphins to their 10th straight Atlantic Sun Conference Indoor Track & Field Championship. Jacksonville totaled 209 points at the JDL Fast Track to finish ahead of Kennesaw State in second at 184.

Shanique Walker earned the Most Valuable Performer award after scoring 29 points including wins in the 60 hurdles & triple jump on Sunday. She is the first Dolphin to earn the honor since Charlene Charles in 2011. She was just one point ahead of teammate Courtney Walker who scored 28 points including wins in the 200m & 400m.

Taylor Story added a victory in the high jump on Sunday while Kree Clark continued her fabulous season with a conference and school record toss to win the weight throw.

Jacksonville had a total of seven individual conference champions for the meet with another 10 all conference performers and 20 additional scorers which all came from 17 athletes.

In second place and trailing Kennesaw State 65.50 – 52.00 at the start of the day, the Dolphins would have to battle behind if they were to continue their decade of dominance.

“Last night we talked about today being an opportunity to show character and to have great individual performances,” said Head Coach Ron Grigg. “But what I witnessed transpire today was the personification of a champions mindset.”

It didn’t take long for the charge to begin. In the first event scored on Sunday Jacksonville racked up 20 points behind Clark’s 19.65m (64-05.75) record setting weight throw. Coupled with her win in the shot put on Saturday, she becomes just the second person to win both in the same championship and the first since Ronnisha Hall did so for Jacksonville in 2009. It was Hall’s record that Clark also bested that was set in 2011.

Samantha Turner was second behind Clark with a personal best of 18.12m (59-05.50) while senior Sally Marie Futch claimed seventh at 14.90m (48-10.75) in her final indoor championship.

“As usual the throwers set the stage,” Grigg said. “They saved us on Saturday in the shot put, and today in the weight throw they were the catalysts to the incredible turn of events.”

With the lead now under five, it took just one more event for the Dolphins to move in front to stay. Jacksonville totaled 24 points in the triple jump taking places 1-2-5-7. Shanique Walker was the winner with a mark of 12.25m (40-02.25) while Stormm Phillips took second at 12.08m (39-07.75). Tia Smith was fifth at 11.73m (38-06.00) while Ja’Mesha Richard was seventh at 11.69m (38-04.25).

Kyla Siemens was fourth in the mile finishing at 5:08.63 as Jacksonville maintained a 4.5 point cushion after nine events scored.

The advantage grew in the 60 hurdles with Shanique Walker once again leading the way in another 24 point event for Jacksonville which claimed spots 1-2-4-8. Walker crossed the finish line in 8.34 giving her the 39th best time in the nation this year. Richard was second at 8.50 followed by Brittney Webley 8.61 in fourth and Jenira Shufford 9.15 in eighth.

Next it was Courtney Walker leading the way in the 400m at 55.61. Walker won the event for a second straight year and with her victory in the 200 became the first Dolphin to win both events in the same championship. Jacksonville went 1-2-6 in the race for a total of 21 points. Shadaey Campbell took second at 56.38 and Phillips was sixth at 57.17.

“Event after event, athlete after athlete we saw inspired excellence,” added Grigg. “The number of events we ask some of our kids to contest certainly isn’t normal. Yet they responded event after event.”

There were no wins in the 60m, but the Dolphins still totaled another 19 points as the lead blossomed to 31.5 points after 12 events scored. Shanique Walker was still going strong for Jacksonville taking second at 7.63 followed by Richard in third at 7.66 and Shufford in fourth at 7.70.

Tatyana Hodnett was fifth in the 800m at 2:14.93 adding four more points to the Jacksonville total.

Walker’s 200m win came next with the Dolphins and the Owls accounting for all eight places. Jacksonville took 1-4-6-7-8 to outscore Kennesaw State 21-18.  Walker’s 24.23 was followed by Campbell in fourth at 24.96 then Richard in sixth at 25.13, Phillips in seventh at 25.17 and Shanique Walker in eighth at 25.35.

“Kennesaw State is a well-coached group of talented athletes who created a great challenge for our team,” Grigg. “I am overwhelmed with pride by how our group responded. This has been a challenging season for many reasons, and that makes this victory very sweet.”

Story would then all but seal the win for Jacksonville by taking the high jump with a leap of 1.70m (5-07.00) for her first ever win in the event. Smith was then fourth at 1.65m (5-05.00).

With a comfortable 30 point lead in hand heading into the final 4x400m relay, the Dolphins team cruised to a fourth place performance to account for the final 209 point total. The 209 points are the highest total since Jacksonville had 218 in the 2011 season.

“Coaches (Bambi) Carson and (Diego) Vela had the group ready, while Athletic Trainer Andi Sutter and massage therapist Thom Moody were instrumental in keeping our athletes healthy throughout the meet,” concluded Grigg.

The outdoor season for Jacksonville begins March 27-28 at the UNF Spring Break Invitational.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *