by Brian DeCandia, sports information graduate assistant
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Powered by three runners in the top-50, the Georgia College women’s cross country team placed ninth at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championships Saturday. Four-of-six runners placed in the top-80 at McAlpine Park, led by freshman Allison Lones (Kathleen, Ga.) in 33rd.
Leading the Bobcats for the sixth race this season, Lones crossed the finish line at 24:00 on the 6K course, shattering the previous school record set by Bonnie Ueltzen in 2008 (24:13). Junior Karissa Ekstrom (Alpharetta, Ga.) would also have broken the school record if not for Lones. Ekstrom finished 35th with a time of 24:03.
Senior Dani Destiche (Snellville, Ga.) was 41st with a time of 24:18, while freshman Andrea Byrnes (Snellville, Ga.) placed 78th with a time of 25:19. Destiche’s time puts her fifth in the school’s all-time 6K records.
Freshman Ashton Passino (Alpharetta, Ga.) finished 91st with a time of 25:43. The Bobcats featured a youthful lineup, with Lones, Byrnes and Passino all competing in their first region championship meet.
The Bobcats finished with 276 points, tied with eighth place team UNC Pembroke, only to be edged out by eight tenths of a second on the average team finish. GC finished fifth among Peach Belt Conference (PBC) schools.
Columbus State University was third with 93 points, King College finished second with 91 points and host Queens University came in first place with 40 total points. Lenior Rhyne University’s Kate Griewisch won the individual title with a time of 20:55.
The race brings to a close the 2010 season for Bobcat cross country, a year that saw Lones snap both the 5K and 6K distance school records and the GC women finished in the top three in each of their first six races. Lones also became the fifth All-Peach Belt Conference (PBC) runner in school history.
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.