FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Contact: Robert Preston, Jr.,
SGC Cross Country Begins September 1
The South Georgia State College cross country team takes to the
trails for its opening meet on Saturday, Sept. 1, and the team is shaping up
to be the best in the short history of the program. The Tigers are an
inexperienced team – out of 15 runners on both the men’s and women’s squad,
10 are freshmen – but the youngsters have already demonstrated they have
what it takes to be very competitive in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic
Association’s Region XVII.
Over the last couple of years, the women’s team has been threatening the top
teams in the conference. The Lady Tigers have always had a couple of really
fast young ladies at the pointy end of the field, but the team has struggled
to find its identity from third to fifth places. For 2012, the Lady Tigers
are stronger and deeper than ever, and this could be the year that they show
they are ready to compete with the best.
Leading the way for SGC is Charley Harrison, a sophomore from Wayne County.
Harrison was one of the top high school runners in both cross country and
track in Wayne’s region during her senior year. She spent a year in Atlanta
at the Savannah College of Art and Design then sat out last year. This
season, Harrison is back and is showing very good form early in the year.
“Charley has worked very hard since January. She gets the most out of every
mile she runs and is setting a great example for the younger girls. If she
stays healthy, she could contend for a conference championship,” says SGC
head cross country coach Robert Preston Jr. Right behind Harrison are
sophomore Tia Ponsell from Pierce County, who holds the current women’s
school record, and freshman Tori Irvin from Cape Coral, Fla. Ponsell had a
very good freshman season despite undergoing an emergency appendectomy early
in the year. She bounced back from the injury and set the school record in
the final meet, earning a spot on the All Conference team in the process.
After just a few short weeks of practice, Irvin has demonstrated that she
will be one of the better runners in the conference as well. She works hard,
never takes days off and refuses to settle for anything but her best. “Tia
and Tori have the potential to be right up there with Charley. They are both
hard workers with tons of natural talent. Tia has a solid base from last
year and Tori came out of a great high school program. These two young
ladies are two of the best we’ve ever had,” says Coach Preston.
Rounding out the women’s team are freshmen Christine Johnston and Samantha
Arroyo, both from Marianna, Fla.; Brooke Logue, a freshman from Dodge
County; Destinee Cason, a freshman from Ware County; and Coffee County
sophomore Elizabeth Wilder. “These young ladies give us a great deal of
depth, and all five are capable of breaking scoring for us. They are
progressing well and getting faster every week. We’ve just got to stay
healthy and get all eight to the start line at the end of the season,” says
The men’s team is as talented as it’s ever been. In an early-season 5K time
trial, three broke 18:00 while everyone came in well under 20:00. Last year,
for example, only three runners broke 20:00. Only two runners return for
2012; the other five are all freshmen and all come out of South Georgia high
school programs. Four freshmen men are battling each other for the top spot
after two weeks of practice: Wesley Worthy (Bradwell Institute), Timmy Evans
(Valdosta High), Richard Smith (Colquitt County) and Pedro Martinez
(Fitzgerald). Right on their heels are freshman Jose Castanon (Lowndes
High), and sophomores Lyndon Jones (Lowndes) and Juan Castanon (Lowndes).
“Watching these guys run every day is a lot of fun. They compete well
against each other and motivate each other push the pace in each workout.
Most of them raced each other in high school, so they were friends – and
friendly rivals – when they came to SGC. Though they’re teammates, none
wants to finish in second place. It makes for some lively practices,”
The cross country team competes in its first meet of 2012 Saturday, Sept. 1
in Albany at Darton College. Six days later, on Sept. 7, the Tigers head up
to the foothills of the north Georgia mountains for a meet at North Georgia
Technical College. After a couple of weeks off from racing, they are back in
action on Sept. 29 (Skiles Farm, Albany), Oct. 5 (Point University), Oct. 12
(a home meet on the SGC campus) and Oct. 27 (conference finals at
Chattahoochee Technical College). “We’ve had some great runners come through
here who have established a tradition of excellence. This team understands
that legacy and is ready to raise the bar even more,” says Preston.
|Top row (from left): Wesley Worthy, Richard Smith, Juan Castanon,
Lyndon Jones, Jose Castanon, Timmy Evans and Pedro Martinez
Bottom row (from left): Tia Ponsell, Elizabeth Wilder, Samantha
Arroyo, Christine Johnston, Tori Irvin, Destinee Cason, Charley
Harrison and Brooke Logue
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About South Georgia State College
South Georgia State College (www.sgc.edu)
was founded in 1906 and is located in Douglas, Ga. The college's environment
gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and
close collaboration with faculty. With over 20 majors and transfer
opportunities, South Georgia State College provides the finest education possible
to the citizens of its service area.