Press Release for Friday, September 4, 2009

Men's and Women's Cross Country Set to Start

Jeff Wuerth

Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations

(904) 620-4027


 The University of North Florida men’s and women’s cross country teams will begin their 2009 season split. One group of men’s and women’s runners will go to the JU Short Course Duals on Friday, Sept. 4, while another group will run on Sept. 5 at the Ron Pynn Classic at the Ray Richards Golf Course in Grand Forks, N.D.


The University of North Florida has never opened up the season with a split team or has it had the opportunity to qualify for the NCAA Championships like it will have this season.


The top seven men and women will travel to North Dakota. The men will run an 8K and the women will run a 5K.  It will be a double-dual that includes both North Dakota and South Dakota State.


Both teams started practicing a little over two weeks ago preparing for the start of this season.

"I'm excited to see where we are,” said Head Coach Mark VanAlstyne.  “We've had two great weeks of training and everyone is healthy and hungry to race after the offseason.”


The men will be returning nine out of the 16 runners from last year’s team. Of the nine there will be three seniors in Chris Fulcher, Samuel Palmer, and Craig Sinbine. The newcomers will consist of freshman Chase Nelson, James Post, Gilbert Vasquez and Nick and Skylar Squillace.


The women will be returning seven out of the 11 runners from last season’s squad. Of the seven three are seniors in Hillary Adams, Melissa Sams and Jessica Villemaire.  The newcomers will consist of freshmen, Meggie Emons, Shelby Kittrell, Laney Maddox, Brooke Nebel, Melanie Novak and sophomore Laura Ragland who competed in track and field as a freshman.


“We've welcomed new members into our Osprey Family and I can't wait to see them perform in the blue and white,” commented VanAlstyne. “If their practice performance is any indication, they will be competitive immediately and greatly improve our chances of winning the A-Sun. I can tell you, without exception, every member of our team has that as their number one goal this year."


Listed below are the top seven men and women who will compete at Ron Pynn Invite:  


Hillary Adams

Brooke Baumann

Meggie Emons

Erin Heasley

Shelby Kittrell

Mel Novack

Laura Ragland



Josh Brown

Johnathan Esteban

Chris Fulcher

Sammy Palmer

Will Pearce

James Post

Mike Strasser



Listed below are the men and women competing in the JU Short Course Duals:




Christian Homme

Michael Homme

Gilbert Vazquez

Chase Nelson



Kayla Conrad

Brooke Nebel

Sianne Chong

Melissa Sams

Laney Maddox