by Tyler Peck, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - The Georgia College & State University cross country program and head coach Joe Samprone recently announced the hiring of Richard Dobson as graduate assistant coach.
Dobson will be in charge of conditioning the runners for both squads at practices to prepare them for meets. He will aid Samprone in coaching aspects along with advising the teams on nutrition and workouts. Dobson, a former Bobcat, was the first two-time All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) runner in school history.
"Having been one of Georgia College's best cross country runners, Rich knows what it takes to perform at your peak," Samprone said. "In his new role as GA he can share that knowledge with our men's and women's teams making them all better runners."
Dobson, former walk-on, is the GCSU record holder for best 8K finish at the PBC Championships with a time of 26:47. He also claims both the third and eighth slots for the top 10K times at the NCAA Southeast Regionals with a time of 34:28 in 2008 and 35:15 in 2006.
Coming off a top-10 finish in the NCAA Southeast Region Championship in 2008, the men harriers finished the season ranked ninth in the final U.S. Cross Country Coaches (USTFCCA) Division II Southeast Regional Rankings. Standout Rob Manning (Lawrenceville, Ga.) returns for his sophomore season to lead the Bobcats, who are ranked third in the PBC's preseason poll.
The women's team returns after a fourth place finish at the PBC Championships. Heather Raines (Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Bonnie Ueltzen (Blairsville, Ga.) return for the Bobcats as Raines came in 26th at the NCAA Regional. Ueltzen snapped the school's 6K mark at the Pepperdine Invitational Oct. 4, covering the course in 24:13, to eclipse her own 24:30 set just a year ago.
The GCSU Department of Athletics, winners of the 2008-09 PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, GCSU prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.