COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Georgia College & State University women's cross country team couldn't have hoped for a better tune-up race to finish the regular season than to take second at the SMC Invitational, hosted by St. Michael's College. Senior Heather Raines (Lawrenceville, Ga.) finished six seconds off the school record in the 5K, leading the team to finish tops among non-Division I schools in the race.
Raines buzzed through the course in 19:50, the third-best time in school history. Bethany Loushine owns the school record at 19:44, set in 2002 at the PBC Championships. Raines's teammate Dani Destiche (Snellville, Ga.) owns the second-best mark at 19:47, set in 2007.
Sophomore Virginia Balkcom (Fayetteville, Ga.) was second on the team in 13th overall, covering the course in 20:12, a personal best. Classmate Karissa Ekstrom (Alpharetta, Ga.) was 16th in 20:22.
Also setting a personal-best was sophomore Alycia Hayes (Cumming, Ga.) at 20:59, good for 23rd. Tying her personal low time was classmate Victoria Dobson (New Hamburg, Ontario) crossing the line 26th in 21:12.
The Bobcats finished second to Division I University of Vermont, who took just 15 points. The ‘Cats had 53 points, 27 better than the next opponent, host SMC. Vermont's Aly Millett won the race in 18:10.
The Bobcats entered three unattached runners on the men's side, as sophomore Michael Heuett (Snellville, Ga.) posted a career-best 8K of 28:51. He finished 22nd, one slot below Colin Conroy (Dacula, Ga.) who posted a 28:46. Classmate Daniel Horseman (Cohotta, Ga.) ran a 29:56 in 31st.
The Bobcats are off for a week, then travel to Pembroke, N.C. for the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Championships Saturday, Oct. 24.
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 documented academic success and community-service involvement. Sign up at Twitter.com username GCSUSID for up-to-the-minute reports, and visit www.GCSUBobcats.com to nominate your favorite former Bobcats and Colonials to the GCSU Athletics Hall of Fame.