LUMBERTON, N.C. – The Columbus
State men’s and women’s cross country teams continued
their dominance as they claimed both PBC Championships Presented by
GEICO on a rainy Saturday morning at Luther Britt Park in
Lumberton, N.C. The CSU men’s team won their fifth straight
PBC title while the women took their fourth in a row.
The women’s race featured 11 teams for the first time since 2003 but the bigger field did not seem to affect the Lady Cougars who had three of the top four runners and four in the top 10. Naomi Tanui blitzed the 6k course, winning the PBC Individual Championship in a time of 22:26. Tanui becomes the second CSU woman to win the PBC race, joining Isabel Speer who won it in 2007.
Tanui set an early fast pace in the overcast and humid conditions and had more than a 20-second lead halfway through before winning at the line by 35 seconds over teammate Brittany Skiles. Skiles ran 23:01, three second ahead of Clayton State’s Chelsea Ellis in third.
CSU’s Kelli Arnold was fourth in 23:23 while Clayton State’s Courtney Aylor was fifth and Montevallo’s Haley Evans sixth.
CSU collected 37 points to earn the championship. The five titles in a row is the second-longest streak in PBC history behind Kennesaw State, who won seven PBC Championships from 1994-99. The Lady Cougars won the race by 50 points, the largest margin of any of their five titles.
GCSU finished second with 87 points with four of their five scoring runners finishing between 10th and 20th. Virginia Balcom led the Lady Bobcats with a 10th place finish and a time of 24:19. The second-place finish is the best-ever for GCSU.
Montevallo, making their first appearance in the PBC race since joining the conference for this season, finished third with 91 points, holding off fourth-place Clayton State by one point. Augusta State finished fifth with North Georgia coming in sixth.
Four runners broke away from the pack of the men’s race and were together for the first two miles, but in the end Columbus State’s Meshack Koyiaki maintained the pace the best and won the Individual Championship in a time of 24:38, the second-fastest 8k ever run at a PBC Championship.
Koyiaki held off UNC Pembroke’s Pardon Ndhlovu, who was second in 24:57, the best finish for a UNCP’s mens runner ever in the PBC Championship. CSU’s Nicholas Kering finished third in 25:44 with Clayton State’s Fidelis Mutiso fourth with a 26:23.
CSU won their fourth straight men’s championship by placing all five of their scoring runners in the top 10. The Cougars finished with 24 points as a team, their lowest score of the four championships.
Clayton State finished second with 49 points with Mutiso coming in fourth followed by Stephen Bowers in seventh and Joey Chino in 10th. The Lakers, the last team other than CSU to win a PBC title, finish as the runner-up for the third year in a row.
Host UNC Pembroke finished third, their best result since 2005, while North Georgia was fourth and GCSU fifth.
The top seven women’s finishers were named first-team All-Conference while the second seven were named to the second team. For the men, the top five runners were first-team All-Conference with the second five placed on the second team. The PBC freshmen of the year were the fastest true freshmen in the field.
2009 Women’s Cross Country
Naomi Tanui, Columbus State
Brittany Skiles, Columbus State
Chelsea Ellis, Clayton State
Kelli Arnold, Columbus State
Kourtney Aylor, Clayton State
Haley Evans, Montevallo
Holly Keeper, Augusta State
Ashley Arnold, Columbus State
Ginny Davis, Montevallo
Virginia Balcom, GCSU
Nicole Maitland, USC Aiken
Kathryn Vance, North Georgia
Kaley Glover, Montevallo
Annette Sem, UNC Pembroke
Freshman of the Year: Kelli Arnold, Columbus State
2009 Men’s Cross Country
Meshack Koyiaki, Columbus State
Pardon Ndhlovu, UNC Pembroke
Nicholas Kering, Columbus State
Fidelis Mutiso, Clayton State
Stewart Helton, Columbus State
David Marley, Columbus State
Stephen Bowers, Clayton State
Tyler Mattix, North Georgia
John Neill, Columbus State
Joey Chino, Clayton State
Freshman of the Year: Pardon Ndhlovu, UNC Pembroke