AUGUSTA, GA – Columbus State University has been voted as the preseason women’s cross country favorite in a poll of the league’s head coaches released on Wednesday. The Lady Cougars received seven of a possible nine first-place votes to finish with 74 total points, ahead of second-place Augusta State who had 67. Clayton State is third in the poll with GCSU fourth and UNC Pembroke fifth. Montevallo, a tie with Flagler and USC Aiken, Francis Marion and Georgia Southwestern round out the voting.
Columbus State won their fifth consecutive PBC Championship in 2009, the second-longest streak in league history. They also won their first-ever NCAA Southeast Regional and advanced to the national championships for the second straight year. For 2010, head coach J.D. Evilsizer welcomes back four of his top five runners including seniors Naomi Tanui and Brittney Skiles. Tanui won the 2009 PBC Championship and finished third in the NCAA Regionals while Skiles was second at the PBC and fourth in the regional and was named the PBC Runner of the Year. Also returning are senior Ashley Arnold, who was eighth at the PBC and 11th in the regional, and sophomore Moneka English.
Augusta State finished fifth at both the Peach Belt Championships and the NCAA Regionals last season and bring back the majority of the team for 2010. Head coach Adam Ward, who has been named the PBC Coach of the Year for the last four consecutive years, welcomes back rising sophomore Holly Keeper, who was the team’s fastest at both the PBC and NCAA. Juniors Angela Woodward, who had two top-10 finishes, and Savannah Sutton also return. Sutton ran all six races for the Lady Jaguars last year with two top-10 results.
Clayton State fielded a young squad in 2009 that finished fourth in the PBC Championships and ninth at the NCAA regionals. Coach Mike Mead brings back all five of the runners who started in the PBC Championships, including senior Chelsea Ellis who was named All-Conference last season after finishing third in the Peach Belt race. Also back are a trio of juniors in Tamara Marshall, Kourtney Aylor and Rene Mares along with sophomore Paige Galvin.
The 2010 PBC women’s cross country season begins on Sept. 3 with most teams hitting the trail for the first time Sept. 10. The 2010 PBC Championships will be run on Saturday, Nov. 6, at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Ga. The races will be part of the first-ever PBC Fall Festival which will hold the men’s and women’s soccer championships alongside the cross country championships in the same facility at the same time. The men’s race will begin at 9:00 am that Saturday with the women and 9:45. The 2010 NCAA Regional will be held Saturday, Nov. 20, in Charlotte, N.C.
Below is the 2010 women's cross country coaches poll. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.
|1. Columbus State||7||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||74|
2. Augusta State
|3. Clayton State||1||1||0||4||1||2||0||0||0||65|
|5. UNC Pembroke||0||1||2||2||2||1||1||0||0||51|
|t7. USC Aiken||0||0||0||0||2||4||1||1||1||32|
|9. Francis Marion||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||5||2||23|
|10. Georgia Southwestern||0||0||1||0||0||1||1||0||6||20|