by Kyle Collins, sports information student assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. - Coming off top-10 finishes in the NCAA Southeast Region Championship, both the men's and women's squads moved up in the final U.S. Cross Country Coaches (USTFCCA) Division II Southeast Regional Rankings. The poll, released Nov. 11, had the Georgia College & State University women at fifth and the men ninth in the region.
The women moved up four places while the men broke back into the top-10 in the final poll. Both Bobcat harriers improved their team finishes from last year's regional. Ninth place was a two spot improvement for the men, while the women's fifth place finish was 10 spots better.
The final regional rankings mirrored each team's finish in the Southeast Championship. On the women's side, Peach Belt Conference (PBC) teams Columbus State University and Augusta State University finished No. 4 and No. 2 respectively in the final standings. Augusta State advanced to the National Championship off their strong finish.
As for the men, PBC opponents coming in at No. 2 and 3 were Columbus State and Clayton State University. With the runner-up finish, Columbus moves on to Nationals.
Junior Heather Raines (Lawrenceville, Ga.) led women's cross country to their best-ever school finish. Raines finished the 6K event 26th (25:16), while fellow junior Bonnie Ueltzen (Blairsville, Ga.) was close behind at 28th (25:21).
Georgia College freshman Rob Manning (Lawrenceville, Ga.) broke the school record in the 10K. Manning's 18th place finish at 33:56 busted Josh Hollar's (Canton, Ga.) previous record at last year's meet by 16 seconds and nearly gave him All-Region honors, as he came up three spots short.
Georgia College cross country will look to continue their upward climb next season. Both the men and women lose just one senior a piece.
The GCSU Department of Athletics 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. Follow the Bobcats and their positive impact on the Milledgeville community at www.gcsu.edu/bobcats.