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Cross Country - Thu, Jul. 21, 2016

The St. Ambrose Track & Field / Cross Country programs welcome a pair of new graduate assistants this fall in Marissa Dunkerley and Sarah Janosz. 

Marissa Dunkerley became a part of the Fighting Bee family in 2011 when she signed with the St. Ambrose Track and Field team in the spring of her senior year at Peoria Notre Dame High School. She grew up in Peoria, IL and successfully ran track through middle school and high school as well as running cross country her senior year.

While at SAU, Dunkerley ran all four of her undergrad years anywhere from the 4x100 through the 4x800 but specialized in the 400m/4x400. The highlight of her career was winning the MCC 400m dash and anchoring the winning 4x400 relay her sophomore year. She was an Academic All-American as well a recipient of the Champions of Character award during her final outdoor season.

Dunkerley graduated Cum Laude with her Bachelors in Psychology and is returning to SAU to earn her Master's in Social Work. She is thrilled to be back at her alma mater and even more excited to work with the track and field program.

"It's exciting to bring Marissa back, and I think she'll have an immediate, positive impact on the program," SAU head coach Dan Tomlin said. "Her knowledge of SAU and our programs will be crucial in recruiting and I know that I can trust her with anything in regards to the day-to-day business of the team."

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Sarah's cross country journey started in 2005 at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois. She was a 4-year athlete in both cross country and soccer. By her senior year, she knew that cross country was something she couldn't give up and decided to run in college.

In the fall of 2009, she attended North Central College in Naperville, Illinois and was part of the Women's cross country and track and field team. She ran everything from the 800m to the 5k, including steeplechase. One of the highlights of her career was earning the Most Improved runner her senior year in cross country. While at North Central, she earned her bachelor's degree in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology.

After graduation Sarah got an opportunity to assistant coach cross country and track and field at Marist High School in Chicago, Illinois from fall of 2013 to spring of 2016. The highlight of her career as a coach was when the team qualified for state for the first time in school history for cross country. This experience helped her realize that coaching is her passion and is excited to start a new journey at Saint Ambrose University as the Men and Women's cross country graduate assistant while pursuing her master's degree in Organizational Leadership.

"We're really excited to have Sarah join us, and believe she possesses a lot of skills that will make her a great coach," SAU XC coach Dan Zeimet said. "Having spent a few years coaching at the high school level, she'll have no problem jumping right in and making a difference."