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August 20, 2008

Columbus State Tabbed as Men's and Women's Cross Country Favorite

AUGUSTA, GA -- Both the Columbus State men’s and women’s cross country teams have been selected as the preseason teams to beat in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches. On the men’s side, CSU swept all first-place votes available to them to finish ahead of Clayton State in second. GCSU, North Georgia, UNC Pembroke and Francis Marion rounded out the voting. For the women, the Lady Cougars took seven of nine first-place votes to finish ahead of Augusta State with GCSU in third. Lander, Clayton State, USC Aiken, North Georgia, UNC Pembroke, Francis Marion and Georgia Southwestern were next.

Columbus State swept the men’s and women’s PBC Championships in 2007. For the men, the title was the second in a row. Back for 2008 are All-Conference standouts Tim English, who finished second in the PBC Championships and third at the NCAA Regionals, and Stewart Helton, who finished fourth at the PBC.

Clayton State will challenge CSU for conference supremacy with the return of Walid Berkhedle, who won the PBC Championships as a freshman last year. GCSU will be running on their home course for the 2008 PBC Championship and will look to All-Conference junior Josh Hollar to set the pace.

The Columbus State women are three-time PBC Champions and are the favorites to go for title #4 in 2008. The Lady Cougars lost PBC individual champion Isabel Speer, but do return All-Conference runners Kandace Smith and Tiara Brown. CSU finished sixth last year at the NCAA Regionals.

Augusta State returns after their most successful season to date which saw the Lady Jaguars finish second at the PBC Championships. Five runners return for ASU including two-time All-Conference performer Jenafer Forward and All-PBC Kara Kreutzer. GCSU, coming off a third-place finish at the 07 PBC, returns All-Conference standouts Dani Destiche and Bonnie Ueltzen.

The men’s and women’s polls are listed below, coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams. The 2008 PBC cross country season begins on Aug. 29 and continues to the 2008 PBC Championships which will be run on Saturday, October 25, in Milledgeville, Ga., on the campus of Georgia College & State University.

Peach Belt Conference

Women's Cross Country Coaches Poll

Rank School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th Total
1. Columbus State 7 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 77
2. Augusta State 1 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 73
3. GCSU 1 0 4 2 2 0 0 0 0 59
4. Lander 1 1 2 0 3 1 1 0 0 53
5. Clayton State 0 0 1 4 1 0 1 1 1 42
6. USC Aiken 0 0 0 2 2 2 3 0 0 39
7. North Georgia 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 3 1 37
8. UNC Pembroke 0 0 0 1 1 2 3 2 0 32
9. Francis Marion 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 3 0 28
10. Georgia Southwestern 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 10

Peach Belt Conference

Men's Cross Country Coaches Poll

Rank School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
1. Columbus State 5 0 0 0 0 25
2. Clayton State 1 4 0 0 0 21
3. GCSU 0 1 4 0 0 16
4. North Georgia 0 0 2 2 1 11
5. UNC Pembroke 0 1 0 2 2 10
6. Francis Marion 0 0 0 2 3 7