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Former Greenbrier runner wins first half-marathon

Cool moments for Belchers

Posted: February 29, 2012 - 1:10am  |  Updated: February 29, 2012 - 3:20am

Bridget Lyons is no stranger to personal achievement. She graduated from Greenbrier High in the top 5 percent of her class and was a Georgia Certificate of Merit winner. She also parlayed her incredible talent for distance running into an athletic scholarship to the University of Georgia.

While in Athens, Lyons distinguished herself as one of the finest runners in Georgia history. She was named a team co-captain in 2009 and earned second team All-SEC honors in 2010. In 2011, Lyons finished 19th in the USA Nationals and 20th in the NCAA Championships in the 10,000 meters. She was also named a Capital One Second Team Academic All-American.

Lyons wrapped up her career with the Bulldogs with the third-best time ever in the 5,000 meters and the second-best time ever in the 10,000 meters. Thanks to her hard work in the classroom and on the track, she received multiple postgraduate scholarships.

One thing Lyons had never done was run a half-marathon. She now can check that off her list, and while she’s at it, she can check off her first career half-marathon victory.

The former Greenbrier standout crushed her fellow competitors to take the ladies title at the Augusta Half Marathon this past weekend. She beat her nearest female competitor by more than nine minutes, and her time was good for third overall in the event.

Cool moments for Belchers

The Belcher name has become synonymous with baseball in the Augusta area. Brian Belcher was a standout pitcher in high school and college during his playing days, and his two sons, Jordan and Nolan, were outstanding as well.

Jordan closed his career as the Columbia County Player of the Year following a brilliant prep career at Augusta Christian and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds.

Nolan is the best high school pitcher to ever toe rubber in the Augusta area, and I would put his career numbers up against anyone to ever play in Georgia.

Then, you have Kody Belcher, who nearly led Lakeside to a state title as a junior and currently is playing at Kennesaw State.

Kody, the former Panther great, got his college career started in style. The speedy outfielder launched a home run in his first college at bat last week as Kennesaw took on Alabama State.

Kennesaw won 14-2, and Belcher has a moment he will treasure the rest of his life. He came in to pinch hit for starting rightfielder Chris McGowan late in the game, and promptly hit a home run.

Belcher was outstanding during his prep career at Lakeside, and was a two-time First Team All-County selection. He and his Kennesaw State teammates play today at 4 p.m. at Georgia Tech.

As for Nolan, it was a different type of cheering than he is used to, but it was sweet nonetheless when he took the mound Friday night in Columbia, S.C.

Belcher was an All-SEC Freshman Team selection in 2009 and went 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 2010 before he was sidelined for the 2011 season with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

Not only was Belcher having to sit with an injury for the first time in his career, dating back to his T-ball days, but he had to watch his teammates celebrate the Gamecocks’ second consecutive national title. To make matters worse, he suffered a serious ankle injury which slowed down his rehab and recovery.

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