William Jessup to host GSAC Cross-Country Championships

Southern California fires force venue change
By: Staff Report
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Due to fire damage in Southern California, William Jessup University has stepped forward and will be hosting the upcoming Golden State Athletic Conference Cross-Country Championships.

The championships will be held Nov. 4 at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin, the Warriors’ home course. The men’s race starts at 8:30 a.m. and the women will begin at 9:30. Admission is free.

The championships were originally scheduled for Irvine Regional Park and hosted by Vanguard University. However, the recent fire damage forced the GSAC to look for another location.

“William Jessup Athletics is honored to step up in this time of need. While the circumstances are not ideal, we are grateful we have the ability to help the conference host this event,” said William Jessup University athletic director Lance Von Vogt. “Year after year, William Jessup is growing in its ability to host elite championship events in all sports and has developed a reputation for being a leader in NAIA athletics.”

William Jessup hosted the cross-country championships a year ago at Johnson-Springview Park. WJU cross-country coach Parker Daniells will again serve as the meet director and says the experience of hosting last year makes it easier to assume responsibility for the 2017 championships.

“It’s unfortunate what’s going on down south with the fires. I was born and raised in the area that was affected. As much as we are excited to host the championship event, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by these natural disasters," said Daniells, in his 10th season at William Jessup. "This is a great opportunity for the GSAC to come together as a community and not only to compete, but to lift up those affected by these fires across California." 

The GSAC championships will involve nine teams and approximately 150 runners. The men’s meet will be an 8K with runners making four loops around the Johnson-Springview course. The women will run a 5K, equivalent to 2½ laps around the course.

The Master's University men's team will look to defend its 2016 title, while the women's title will be up for grabs because defending champion Biola is now competing in the Pacwest Conference.

The venue switch is advantageous for William Jessup, since the team trains at Johnson-Springview year round and holds all its home meets there. The course is flat with a hard dirt surface and runners enjoy it because their times are typically fast.

“The course is very fast and is also very spectator friendly,” Daniells said. “It gives us a little advantage, since we know the course so well. We’re hoping our teams will be among the top three in conference. But we will have to run well; the GSAC is a very strong conference with many talented runners.”