New Gadsden State cross country coach excited for 2024 season

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Photo courtesy of Gadsden State

Jackson Millander was recently promoted to head coach of the Gadsden State Community College cross country team. He previously served as the team’s assistant coach.
“I’m grateful to be given the opportunity to continue working with a great group of athletes at Gadsden State,” he said. “I’m excited about the new season.”
A native of Hokes Bluff, Millander (pictured above) has been part of the cross country staff since May 2022. While still completing his undergraduate studies at Jacksonville State University, he began serving as an assistant coach with then-coach Roseanne Green. Millander assisted in the creation of summer and in-season training plans, oversaw strength and conditioning, spearheaded recruiting efforts, handled travel logistics and organized fundraisers.
Gadsden State reinstated cross country in 2022 after disbanding the sport in 2011. During the 2022 season, the women’s team finished in fourth place at the Alabama Community College Conference Region 22 Championships and qualified for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Championships, where the Lady Cardinals finished in 24th place.
Last season, the women’s team again finished in fourth place at the regional championship, with sophomore Jordan Clark finishing sixth overall in the race and being named to the All-Conference Team. She finished in eighth place in 2022. The Lady Cardinals had a 21st-place finish at the national competition held last November in Huntsville. Clark recently signed a cross country scholarship with Dalton (Ga.) State.
Also in 2023, the men’s team finished in sixth place at regionals. Lane Griffin finished 15th out of 90 runners. He was also named ACCC Runner of the Week in October. The Cardinals finished in 31st place at the national competition.
“Both teams were ranked in the Top 25 throughout the season in the NJCAA Division II Coaches Poll,” said Millander. “They competed at a high level, and I expect nothing less this year.”
While serving as an assistant coach at Gadsden State, Millander was also a student manager for JSU’s women’s basketball team, eventually rising to the rank of head manager.
“As manager, I was able to assist in the day-to-day operations of a successful Division I women’s basketball team,” he said. “I gained immeasurable experience.”
Millander was head ma-nager for the women’s basketball team at Shelton State, where he aided in operations, event management and administrative duties. He earned an Associate of Science degree from the college in May of 2022.
Millander will officially start team workouts on August 1, with the first race scheduled for August 30 at the JSU Foothills Invitational in Oxford.
The men’s team currently has seven runners on the roster, with five returning. The women’s roster has six runners, with only one being a returner.
“I’m excited to build on the success we have had over the past two seasons,” said Millander. “We have a great group of returning sophomores and a very talented group of incoming freshmen. I’m hoping to see more records broken this year.”
Millander and the team are planning an on-campus running clinic on July 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The clinic is open to students in grades 7-12. Gadsden State runners and coaches will teach basic and complex workouts as well as tips to improving. Check-in and same-day registration will take place from 8 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. at Beck Gymnasium located on the Wallace Drive Campus. Those who sign-up by June 25 will receive a camp tee shirt.
JSU’s cross country coach Jeremy Provence will speak during lunch, which is provided to all participants. To register, visit GoCardinals.gadsdenstate.edu.
Local high school cross country coaches are encouraged to attend free of charge. Coaches wishing to attend should email jmillander@gadsdenstate.edu.
“We want to help all runners, both new and experienced, take their running to the next level,” said Millander.

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