AUGUSTA, GA – The Augusta University Jaguars were the top selection to win the 2019 PBC men's cross country championship as the preseason coaches poll was released on Monday. The Jaguars claimed seven of 10 first-place votes for 87 total points, seven ahead of second-place UNC Pembroke. Flagler was third with Columbus State fourth and Georgia College in fifth. Clayton State was next, ahead of a tie between Lander and Young Harris. Francis Marion, USC Aiken and Georgia Southwestern rounded out the voting.
Augusta won two events in 2018 and finished second at the PBC Championship. The Jaguars were the top PBC team at the NCAA Regionals, finishing third overall, and advanced to the national championship for the third time in school history and second year in a row. The 2019 Jaguars return three All-Conference runners from last year's team with juniors Hunter Kimball, Jacob Poston and Chandler Kennedy. Also returning is sophomore Hans Troyer, who was among the top five on the team at the regional.
UNC Pembroke won their second PBC Championship in the last four years in 2018 and look to become the first team to go back-to-back since Columbus State finished off an impressive five in a row in 2010. The Braves were fourth at the NCAA Regionals, just four points behind Augusta and bring back what may be the best one-two punch in the PBC with junior Silus Kipkoech and sophomore Joshua Chepkesir returning. Chepkesir won the PBC Championship in 2018 and was named Freshman of the Year. Kipkoech was second in 2018, won in 2017 and this past spring was named the PBC Track Athlete of the Year.
Flagler won the 2016 PBC Championship and was third at last season's event. The Saints also finished sixth at the NCAA Southeast Regional. Flagler returns senior Trenton Liberty and sophomores Connor Norton and Aseli Adum, all of whom were named All-Conference last year. The Saints may have one of the most experienced teams in the PBC with three seniors and two juniors on the roster.
The 2019 PBC men's cross country season begins the weekend of Sept. 6 with eight teams in action. The 2019 season will mark the return of Georgia Southwestern, USC Aiken and Young Harris to the Peach Belt as those programs were revived. The 11 competing teams will be the most in the conference since 1999.
The coaches poll is listed below. First-place votes are in parentheses.
|2.||UNC Pembroke (2)||80|