Columbus State Cross Country Teams Represented in USTFCCCA Preseason Regional Poll
New Orleans, LA – The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced their preseason Southeast Regional cross country rankings in Division II, selecting Columbus State University and Queens University (N.C.) as their favorites on the women's and men's side, respectively. The Lady Cougars, fresh off their first-ever Southeastern Region title, edged out Queens University on the women's side of the poll.
This is the second poll in the past two weeks that the Lady Cougars have been picked in the top spot. Last week, CSU was picked to win the Peach Belt Conference Championship by the league's coaches for the sixth consecutive year. Coach J.D. Evilsizer welcomes back four retuning runners from the first-ever CSU women's cross country team to make it the NCAA Division II National Championship. Naomi Tanui, who won the 2009 women's PBC individual championship and placed third at the 2009 Southeastern Regional, returns for her senior season. Also, senior Brittney Skiles, who finished second in the conference and fourth at the Southeastern Regional last year, is returning. Skiles was also voted the 2009 PBC woman runner of the year. Joining Tanui and Skiles are Ashley Arnold and Moneka English. Arnold finished eleventh at the regionals last season, and English is returning for her sophomore season. The Lady Cougars are going to have tough conference competition this year with four teams in the top 10 in the preseason region poll.
The Queens University Royals are atop the men's Southeast Regional poll. The Royals are the defending Southeast Regional champions and finished seventh at the 2009 NCAA Division II Championship. Coming in at number two is Columbus State. The Cougars were selected as the early season favorites in the PBC after another strong season in 2009. Last year marked the fourth consecutive time that they had won the conference championship. CSU had a strong outing at the regionals, finishing second to move on to the national championship for the second consecutive year. Meshack Koyiaki is leading the returning cast of four runners from last year. Koyiaki won last year's conference individual championship, finished second at the Southeastern regional, and ninth at nationals. Graduate student David Marley as well as seniors Nicholas Kering and John Neil also return. Kering finished third at the PBC Championship and fourth at the Southeastern Regional. Neil and Marley were named to the All-Conference team after strong performances in 2009. Joining Columbus State in the top ten are fellow PBC teams Clayton State (fourth) and UNC Pembroke (sixth).
The 2010 Cross Country season gets underway for the Cougars on September 11, when they compete in the Georgia Southwestern Remembrance Run at Georgia Southwestern University. The 2010 PBC Championship is scheduled for November 6 in Evans, Georgia. The 2010 NCAA Division II Southeast Region will be on November 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The USTFCCA will announce their 2010 NCAA Division II National cross country preseason poll will be released tomorrow, August 25.