GCSU Women’s Cross Country Takes Runner-Up Spot at PBC Championships

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LUMBERTON, N.C. - Senior Virginia Balkcom (Fayetteville, Ga.) took 10th place at the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Championships today (Oct. 24) earning All-PBC Second Team status and pacing the Bobcats to a runner-up finish. The second-place marks the best PBC meet finish for the Georgia College women's cross country program.

The course was upped to a 6K for the first time this season, and the Bobcats responded with just 87 points, 50 behind champion Columbus State University. Georgia College topped the University of Montevallo by just four, and fifth-place Clayton State University by five.

Balkcom crossed the line in 24:19 at 10th, a personal best and the No. 3 6K time in school history. She is the first GCSU runner to get All-PBC status since teammates Bonnie Nikelin (Blairsville, Ga.) and Dani Destiche (Snellville, Ga.) did it in 2007.

Sophomore Karissa Ekstrom (Alpharetta, Ga.) was second on the squad and 15th overall, missing All-PBC by less than a full second. Ekstrom's 24:29 today is the fifth-best time in school history. Senior Alycia Hayes (Cumming, Ga.) and Destiche took 19th and 20th, respectively. Hayes finished in a personal-best 24:57, while Destiche came in at 25:03.

Two-time PBC Runner of the Week Heather Raines (Lawrenceville, Ga.) came in 23rd, crossing the line in 25:13 and rounding out the top-five for Georgia College.

Prior to today's performance, the top finish for the ‘Cats was a third place slot in 2007. The Bobcats are back in action Saturday, Nov. 7 at the NCAA Southeast Regional, hosted by Wingate University in Wingate, N.C.

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, Georgia College prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the Bobcats' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.