10/1/11 (Dawson) – The Darton College men’s and women’s cross country teams defended one of their home courses Saturday and won the Fourth Annual Darton College Invitational – Skiles Farm meet.
Sophomore Shay Wright, of Griffin, won the individual champion award of the women’s race, finishing the 5000-meter run in 21:09. Ryan Judson, of Bonaire, won the men’s race, finishing the 8K in 28:31.39.
Judson lead the men’s team to a perfect score of 15 points. Right at his shoulder was sophomore teammate Nathan Norton, who finished in 28:31.58.
“They were battling it out,” Head Coach Bruce Skiles said. “For the last 300 meters – one would surge and get ahead – then the other would surge on him. Both of them gave it everything they had.”
Behind Norton were Luis Navarro, of Kennesaw (28:49), Cody Mallchok, of Woodstock (29:08) and Hank Campbell, of Guyton (30:01), respectively. Finishing sixth and seventh for the Cavaliers were Tyler Allifi, of Guyton (31:00), and Ben Hoover, of Moultrie (31:21).
Darton sophomores and frontrunners Kingsley Cajuste and Heath Lamb did not race.
In the women’s race, Wright was challenged only by teammate Jeronda Stringfield, who finished second overall in 21:28. Hayden Clapper, of Oviedo, Fla., finished fourth (22:15), Ashley Tosky, of Leesburg, finished fifth (22:26), and Lacey Webb, of Moultrie, finished seventh (22:52) to complete Darton’s winning team score of 19. Finishing sixth and seventh for the Lady Cavs were Vanessa Pina, of Leesburg (23:07), and Chelsea Battle, of Americus (23:28).
The course was tough, with several hills and “stride breakers” – small dips and drops along the dirt trail – that made it a challenge for runners. Attending the race with Darton were Georgia Southwestern State University, Wesleyan College, South Georgia College, Chipola Community College and Andrew College.
The men’s team is ranked No. 14 in the NJCAA; the women’s team is ranked No. 18. The program is scheduled to race in Acworth Saturday at the Southern Collegiate Cross Country Challenge.