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August 17, 2011

Columbus State Favored to Win PBC Men's Cross Country Title

AUGUSTA, GA – The Columbus State men’s cross country team has been selected as the preseason favorite as a poll of the league’s head coaches was released on Wednesday.  In one of the closest results ever, the Cougars edged out UNC Pembroke by the narrowest of margins with just one point separating the two.  CSU received four first-place votes and had a 57-point total while UNCP also got four first-place votes and finished with 56 total points.  Clayton State was third in the voting with Augusta State fourth and Georgia College fifth.  Montevallo, Flagler, Armstrong Atlantic State and Francis Marion rounded out the voting.

Columbus State won their fifth consecutive PBC Championship in 2010 and advanced to the NCAA National Championships for the third straight season.  For 2011, the Cougars will have to replace their top three runners as All-American Meshack Koyiaki, Nicholas Kering and David Marley all graduated last year.  Leading the pack of returners is junior Stephen Bowers who finished seventh at the PBC Championships and junior Andy Henderson who was 15th at the PBC.

UNC Pembroke continues their upward trend, having improved their spot in the PBC Championships in each of the last three years including a second-place finish in 2010.  The Braves have the most experienced returning team in the league with their top four runners back in the fold including junior Pardon Ndhlovu.  Ndhlovu finished third at the PBC Championships a year ago and earned an individual spot to run in the NCAA National Championships.  Sophomore Chris Schroll also returns after finishing fifth at the PBC with seniors Kevin Clancy and Zach Bayless also returning.

Clayton State has finished in the top three at the PBC Championships for four straight years and look to break through for their first title since 2005 this year.  The Lakers will have to replace seniors Fidelis Mutiso, who earned an individual spot in the NCAA National Championships last year, and Jarrid Casimir, but do return two of their top five runners from last season’s PBC Championships with senior Albert Mong’ony and sophomore Charles Anderson.

Augusta State reinstituted their men’s cross country program in 2010 after an eight-year hiatus and started strong, finishing fifth at the PBC Championships.  The Jaguars hope to use that strong start as a springboard for further success in 2011 and return all five of their scoring runners from last season’s PBC Championships and NCAA Regional Championships.   Sophomore Dustin Ross led the team at the PBC with a ninth-place finish while senior Clayton Holton was the Jaguars top runner at the NCAA regional.

The 2011 men’s cross country season begins on Sept. 2 and concludes on Oct. 22 at the PBC Championships which will be run at USC Aiken.

The full coaches’ poll is below.  Teams were given eight points for a first-place vote, seven for a second and so on.  Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.

2011 Men's Cross Country Preseason Poll

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

Total

1. Columbus State 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 57
2. UNC Pembroke 4 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 56
3. Clayton State 0 0 4 3 0 1 0 0 42
4. Augusta State 0 3 1 1 2 0 0 1 41
5. Georgia College 0 0 2 3 3 0 0 0 39
6. Montevallo 1 0 1 0 1 3 2 0 31
7. Flagler 0 0 0 1 2 4 0 1 26
8. Armstrong Atlantic St. 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 6 17
9. Francis Marion 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 1 15