August 5, 2013

GC Cross Country Adds Seven New Runners

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Coming off of a strong year for Georgia College cross country teams, head coach Joe Samprone has announced the addition of seven young harriers for the fall. two women and five men join the teams for the 2013 season.

Adding to the depth of the women’s team this season will be two freshmen in Bekah Houston (Dalton, Ga.) and Elyse Renshaw (Snellville, Ga.).

Houston was previously coached by Margie Bruner, mother of former Bobcat John Bruner, at Dalton High School and boasts personal bests of 2:24.03 (800 meters), 18:51.2 (5,000 meters) and a school record of 5:19.59 (1,600 meters). A four-time state qualifier in both cross country and track as a prep, her highest finishes come with a fourteenth place finish in the State cross country meet and eighth in the State for 800 meters on the track as a junior.

As a four-time member of the first team Chattanooga Times Best of Preps for cross country, Houston graduated with honors and was awarded the John Bruner Essay Scholarship.

Renshaw also an honor graduate, demonstrated her range as a middle distance runner in high school running 2:30.26 (800 meters), 5:37.47 (1,600m), 7:56.46 (2,000 meter steeplechase), 12:11.29 (5,000 meters) and 19:42.0 (5,000 meters). She placed inside the top-50 runners as a senior at the GHSA State cross country meet to help her team to a first-place performance in Class-AAAAAA, while she also competed well at the Footlocker South Region Championships where she finished 20th in the senior race.

Adding to the already young team on the men’s side, the Bobcats signed three freshmen: Matt Tippins (Hoschton, Ga.), Paul Orr (Fairfield, Ga.) and Matt Sutton (Norcross, Ga.), as well as two sophomore transfers in Trevor Turner (Snellville, Ga.) and Michael Warrick (Marrietta, Ga.).

Leading the way for the incoming freshmen class is Tippins from Mill Creek High School, who claims the fastest time out of the group at 5,000 meters with a 16:08.1 his senior year in cross country. Tippins, a four-year letter winner in cross country and track, helped lead his team to State Championships in both sports for Class-AAAAAA. His highest finish at the GHSA State cross country meet was 26th as a senior, and was selected for the Gwinnett All-County and All-Region teams following his final season.

Tippins also claims personal bests of 1:59.15 (800 meters), 4:27.08 (1,600 meters) and 9:48.54 (3,200 meters).

Orr and Sutton currently boast similar personal bests in cross country as preps and both look to be immediate impacts this season.

Orr graduated with highest honors from Landmark Christian School, and placed sixth in the State in cross country and third in the State for 3,200 meters on the track as a senior. The four-year varsity runner has personal bests of 4:35.63 (1,600 meters), 9:48.33 (3,200 meters) and 16:38.0 (5,000 meters).

Graduating from Norcross High School in the spring, Sutton has a decorated prep career as well helping his team to a third-place finish at the GHSA State cross country meet as a junior and fourth place as a senior. Sutton earned a spot on the Gwinnett All-County Team his senior season, and has personal bests of 6:51.81 (2,000 meter steeplechase), 9:52.49 (3,200 meters), 16:35.0 (5,000 meters) and 34:58.0 (10,000 meters).

Coming to Georgia College from Georgia State University, both Turner and Warrick bring championship experience from the NCAA Division I level.

Turner, who finished inside the top-five for GSU at the Sun Belt Conference Championships as a freshman, has demonstrated he can compete well at the collegiate level with his best times of 27:18.78 for 8,000 meters at the ASU Jaguar Invitational last season and 35:11 for 10,000 meters. He was one of the top prep runners at Brookwood High School as well, earning a spot on the Gwinnett All-County Team in track his senior year and earning personal bests of 4:27.08 for 1,600 meters and 16:40.0 at 5,000 meters.

Also looking to add to the potential on the Bobcats’ roster this season is Warrick, who as a high school senior at Walton High School placed 35th at the GHSA State Cross Country Championships for Class-AAAAA. He finished in the top-seven for the GSU Panthers last season as a freshman at the Sun Belt Conference Championships and has personal bests of 10:02.67 (3,200 meters), 16:24.71 (5,000 meters) and 27:13.14 (8,000 meters).

These runners will look to be impact performers this season on both strong GC cross country squads. The Bobcats take to the course for the first time Saturday, Sept. 7 at the PBC Pre-Conference Meet in Americus, Ga.

The Georgia College Department of Athletics, two-time winners of the PBC Commissioner's Cup, sponsors 11 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 @GCBobcats on Twitter and Facebook 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.