by David T. Mann
ALBANY – The Darton State College Cross Country program swept the NJCAA Region 17 for the fifth year in a row, today
Ten Darton student-athletes earned All-Region honors, sophomore Elena Oslund became the Region 17 women’s champion, and Darton head cross country coach Bruce Skiles became men’s and women’s cross country coach of the year.
Oslund led the Lady Cavaliers to a perfect score. She finished the women’s 5K in a blazing 19:51. Sophomore Alexis Skiles finished second (20:50), followed by Amber Braswell (3rd, 21:31), Jaishell Thomas (4th, 21:40) and Victoria Parra (7th, 21:48).
Runners from Georgia Military College and Gordon College finished 5th and 6th, but their places did not count in team scores as both colleges had incomplete teams.
Darton finished with 15 points. South Georgia College finished second with 46 points and North Georgia Technical College took third with 78 points.
In the men’s race, Cale Pirtle of North Georgia Technical College won individual honors as he ran a scorching 26:25 8K over the Cavalier Trails course. For most of the race he was battling shoulder-to-shoulder with Georgia Military’s Davin Melton, who finished only six seconds behind him.
Then the top five Cavaliers rolled in 3rd through 7th to score 25 points and secure another conference title.
Victor Chicas finished 3rd in 26:45, Austin Steward 4th (26:54), David Thornton 5th (27:20), Ean Crawford 6th (27:50) and Jelani Omari 7th (28:18).
North Georgia Tech finished second with 53 points, and South Georgia College finished third with 95.
“We want to build a dynasty,” said Skiles, who has swept conference titles every season since taking over the program in 2010. “I’m pleased. There were a couple who didn’t run well, but it’s hard to get all of them to run well in one race.”
“That’s why you need depth,” he continued. “That’s what we got. That’s what wins.”
The Cavaliers will travel next to Fort Dodge, Iowa, for the NJCAA D-1 Cross Country National Championship at Lakeside Golf Course on Nov. 9.
All Region 17 1st team, women:
Briana Alexis Skiles
All Region 17 2nd team, women:
All Region 17 1st team, men:
All Region 17 2nd team, men:
Region 17 Champion, women:
Elena Oslund, Darton State College
Region 17 Champion, men:
Cale Pirtle, North Georgia Technical College
Region 17 Men’s Coach of the Year:
Region 17 Women’s Coach of the Year: