by Trevor Kuss, Sports Information Assistant
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. – Georgia College men’s cross country will kick off the 2012 season Friday, hosting the fourth annual Bobcat Invitational.
The Bobcats are sporting a new look this year, having six seniors on the 2011 team. Seniors Dan Horseman and Tyler Mattix led Bobcats last season, both earning All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) honors and Mattix earning All-Region. In addition to the All-PBC runners on the team, seniors Colin Conroy and Rob Manning were also key members of the 2011 Bobcats.
The Bobcats were selected to finish sixth in the PBC Preseason Coaches Poll. The squad returns only three upper classmen, juniors Tucker Forbes (Lilburn, Ga.) and Philip Laskey (Marietta, Ga.), along with senior Nick Widener (Newnan, Ga.). Laskey, the only returning Bobcats to put up a consistant scoring finish in 2011, will be an important member of the 2012 squad.
The loss of so many seniors has made plenty of room for the five freshmen on the team to make an impact. Paul McNeil (Dunwoody, Ga.), Michael Valerio, Dylan Price (Buford, Ga.), James Ryden (Atlanta) and Michael Ziegler (Grayson, Ga.) will all have a chance to contribute to the 2012 Bobcat squad. McNeil and Ryden have both looked strong in pre-season training and could be develop into key members of the team quickly.
After the Bobcat invitational the team will travel Sept. 7 to the Fordham Fiasco in the Bronx, N.Y., then Sept. 15 they’ll be back in Georgia to compete in the Mercer RunFit Invitational in Macon.
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 www.twitter.com/BobcatSports 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.