by Brian DeCandia, sports information graduate assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – The Georgia College women’s cross country team is set to race in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Championships Saturday, Nov. 6 at 9 a.m. held in Evans, Ga. The Bobcats will enter six runners into the race and the top five scores will count towards the team score.
The Bobcat women remained ranked at No. 10 this week in the NCAA Division II Region Poll. Queens University (N.C.) takes the top honors this week. King College takes second and Peach Belt Conference (PBC) foe Columbus State University hangs on to third. Other PBC schools listed in the top-10 are Augusta State University (4), UNC Pembroke (6) and Clayton State University (9), respectively.
The women will race senior Dani Destiche (Snellville, Ga.), junior Karissa Ekstrom (Alpharetta, Ga.) and sophomore Courtney Timmerman (Dearing, Ga.), who is running in her first PBC Championship. Freshmen competing in their first PBC Championship will be Andrea Byrnes (Snellville, Ga.), Allison Lones (Kathleen, Ga.) and Ashton Passino (Alpharetta, Ga.).
Last year the Bobcats placed second at the PBC Championships in Lumberton, N.C. Graduated senior Virginia Balkcom finished 10th earning All-PBC Team status. 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.
Lones has been a pleasant surprise for the Bobcats this season becoming one of the top runners on the squad in her first season. She has participated in all six races this season, pacing the Bobcats in their last four races. She finished third at the YHC Invitational with a time of 21:14. Lones also set the school record for a 5K at the ASU Tri-Meet with a time of 19:13 finishing fifth overall.
Destiche has only participated in three of the six races this season because of an injured foot but she is back and ready to race. She ran to All-PBC status her freshman year with a 21:15 5K at the PBC Championships. Destiche has paced the Bobcats twice this season, finishing seventh at the Bobcat Invitational and ninth at the Run Fit Invitational. Her best time was 20:20 at the Run Fit Invitational.
Ekstrom has had a solid season running in all six meets. Her highest finish was fourth at the Young Harris College (YHC) Invitational. She also finished ninth at the ASU Tri-Meet with a time of 19:40, which was her fastest finish of the season.
PBC teams to participate in the race are Augusta State University, Columbus State University, Clayton State University, UNC Pembroke, the University of Montevallo, Francis Marion University, USC Aiken, Georgia Southwestern State University.
The Georgia College Department of Athletics, back-to-back winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 10 varsity athletic programs at the NCAA Division II level. As a Division II program, Bobcat Athletics prides itself on balancing the life of the student-athlete, evidenced by the teams' multiple appearances in post-season competition as well as documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at www.twitter.com/GCSUBobcats and www.facebook.com/gcbobcats for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCBobcats.com for more information, and to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GC Athletics Hall of Fame.