Jaguars Picked To Win PBC

Jaguars Picked To Win PBC

AUGUSTA, Ga. – One year after winning its first Peach Belt Conference men's cross country championship, the Augusta State Jaguars have been chosen as the preseason team to beat in a poll of the league's head coaches released on Thursday.

The Jaguars received eight of a possible nine first-place votes to finish with 80 points in the poll, 13 ahead of second-place Columbus State. UNC Pembroke was third in the voting with Clayton State in fourth. Flagler, Georgia College, Montevallo, newcomer Young Harris, Francis Marion and Armstrong Atlantic State rounded out the voting. Teams were given nine points for a first-place vote, eight for a second-place and so on. Coaches were not permitted to rank their own teams.

Reinstated in 2010, the Augusta State men's cross country program won a close PBC Championship in 2011 with all seven of ASU's runners finishing in the top half of the field. All seven of those runners return for 2012 including junior Dustin Ross, who was fourth at the PBC and 18th at the NCAA Southeast Regional. Sophomore Jaiden Brandt finished seventh at the PBC Championships while junior Robert Blackwelder was 11th and junior Matt Johnson was 12th. Despite the experience of having all runners returning from last year, the Jaguars have only one senior on the 2012 squad.

Columbus State saw its magical run of five straight PBC titles come to an end last year, but hope to rebound in 2012 with eight returning runners from last year's team. Junior Ian Edwards was the first Cougar to cross the line in four meets last year while senior Andy Henderson led the team at the PBC Championships with a 10th-place finish.

UNC Pembroke's Pardon Ndhlovu returns for his senior season and the opportunity to become only the fourth PBC runner in history to win back-to-back league championships. Ndhlovu has run in three PBC Championship meets, finishing second and third before claiming the crown in 2011.

Clayton State ran third in the 2011 PBC Championships, turning in a top-three finish in the league meet for the fifth straight season. The Lakers will look to returning junior Charles Anderson to keep that streak alive.

Clayton State ran third in the 2011 PBC Championships, turning in a top-three finish in the league meet for the fifth straight season. The Lakers will look to returning junior Charles Anderson to keep that streak alive. Anderson finished 13th at the 2011 PBC run to be named second-team All-Conference.

The 2012 PBC men's cross country landscape has undergone some drastic changes. The league added Young Harris College as a member of the summer and Mountain Lions will compete in the PBC Cross Country Championship.

The PBC also welcomed new head coaches. Michael Sergi will take over the reins at Armstrong Atlantic State. Barry Brown founded the cross country programs at Young Harris in 2006 and will lead them into their first year in the Peach Belt and NCAA Division II.

The 2012 men's cross country season begins on Aug. 31 and continues through the PBC Championships which will be run on Saturday, Oct. 20, in Montevallo, Ala. Montevallo will be hosting the PBC meet for the first time.

2012 Peach Belt Conference Men's Cross Country Preseason Coaches Poll

 

1.

AUGUSTA STATE

8

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

80

2.

Columbus State

1

5

0

3

0

0

0

0

0

67

3.

UNC Pembroke

1

2

4

1

1

0

0

0

0

64

4.

Clayton State

0

2

3

2

1

1

0

0

0

58

5.

Flagler

0

0

3

2

2

2

0

0

0

51

6.

Georgia College

0

0

0

1

4

3

1

0

0

41

7.

Montevallo

0

0

0

0

2

3

4

0

0

34

8.

Young Harris

0

0

0

1

0

1

2

2

3

23

9.

Francis Marion

0

0

0

0

0

0

3

4

2

19

10.

Armstrong

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

5

13