FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 29, 2012
Contact: Robert Preston, Jr.,
Harrison Wins Conference Championship, Five SGC Men
Break School Record
Charley Harrison, a sophomore from Wayne County, added an
exclamation point to an already-incredible cross country season by winning
the overall title at the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association’s
conference championship meet Friday afternoon in Acworth. Her 20:15 set a
new school record and bested her nearest competitor by 25 seconds. In the
men’s race, SGC finished second overall with each of the top five Tigers
making the top 10, breaking the men’s 8K school record and finishing under
27:50. “This has been an amazing season. Charley has either tied or set the
school record three times this year. Each and every meet, our men have
gotten faster and faster. This weekend, they had a chance to win the whole
thing. That’s what we wanted to do – improve each week and give ourselves a
chance to win,” said SGC head coach Robert Preston Jr.
The men ran took to the trails first. The Tigers were expected to finish in
second place; just how far back in second they would be was the big question
heading into the race. As it turns out, they weren’t far back at all.
Despite being in north Georgia, the course was flat and fast. After a season
of running hot, hilly races, SGC took advantage of the flat terrain. Wesley
Worthy (freshman, Bradwell Institute), SGC’s top finisher, turned in a
smoking fast 27:06, good for fourth overall. Timmy Evans (freshman, Valdosta
High School) came in sixth with a 27:43. He was followed by Richard Smith
(freshman, Colquitt County), who came in eighth with a 27:46. Lyndon Jones
(sophomore, Lowndes County) was next with a ninth-place 27:48. One second
later, Pedro Martinez (freshman, Fitzgerald) crossed the line in 10th place.
Juan Castanon, a sophomore from Lowndes County, ran a career personal record
with a 28:54 (17th place), while his twin brother, Jose, finished in 31:26
after taking a wrong turn on the course. “What these guys did Friday was
incredible. I knew they would be fast but I didn’t know they would be that
fast. For all of the top five to break the school record and have six
finishers under 30:00 is just incredible. The great thing about it is five
freshmen will be back next year. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a lot
of great things to come,” said Coach Preston.
The women’s race began about 20 minutes after the men wrapped up. Harrison
was expected to finish in the top three, and Coach Preston knew she could
win the race if she paced herself accordingly. “Over the last month of the
season, Charley has gotten faster and faster. She came into the finals
ranked third in the conference. I knew she would have a chance to win but
she needed to run a smart race and not do too much work early on,” he said.
Harrison went to the front quickly but didn’t take the lead. Instead, she
and several runners from Darton College let Eli Ruiz from North Georgia Tech
lead the way. After one mile, Harrison was sitting comfortably in fourth
place. The girls disappeared into the woods and came back around about a
mile later. Harrison and Alexis Skiles from Darton were running right beside
each other, and Harrison didn’t look like she was working at all. They
headed back into the woods for the final mile. A few minutes later, the
runners could be seen in the distance making their way to the finish.
Harrison had a lead of about 10 meters on Skiles. They went down into a dip
for about 100 meters, then re-emerged with about 2/3 of a mile left. When
they came back into view, Harrison had extended her lead to about 50 meters
and looked as strong as ever. As she came around the final turn for the race
to the finish, she accelerated even more, effectively snuffing out any
chances that her competitors would catch her. She crossed the line
comfortably in first place. Darton’s Jeronda Stringfield came in second with
Skiles finishing in third.
After Harrison came Tori Irvin (freshman, Cape Coral, Fla.) in 23:38, Tia
Ponsell (sophomore, Pierce County) in 23:52, Samantha Arroyo (freshman,
Marianna, Fla.) in 24:04, Christine Johnston (freshman, Marianna, Fla.) in
24:15, Brooke Logue (freshman, Dodge County) in 24:43, Elizabeth Wilder
(sophomore, Coffee County) in 26:20 and Destinee Cason (freshman, Ware
County) in 30:42. The women’s team finished fourth, just three points out of
second. Their team average of 23:17, however, was faster than the average
times of both Gordon College (second) and North Georgia Tech (third). “It’s
a little frustrating to have such good times and finish fourth overall.
Still, I’m very proud of how our girls competed this year. They had the best
season of any women’s team in SGC cross country history. We have the overall
conference champion and this year’s team has re-written the record books.
It’s been a fantastic season all the way around,” said Coach Preston.
Worthy earned First Team All-Conference honors, while Evans, Smith, Jones
and Martinez made Second Team All-Conference. Harrison was First Team
All-Conference for her performance.
The season isn’t over yet for SGC. The Tigers will travel to Rend Lake,
Illinois, for the national cross country championships on Nov. 10.
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