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Darton swimmers shine in Savannah; wrestling team gears up for 'Cavalier Duals' on Saturday in Albany

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

ALBANY -- The Darton College swimming team had several strong performances during this past weekend's meet hosted by Savannah College of Art & Design.

Darton's women finished in ninth place with 113 points, and the men finished third with 506.

The teams, coached by David Hughes, were led on the men's side by the 200-yard medley relay team of Jamie Bolton, Zach Lopez, Peter Sorensen and Chad Wimberly, who finished first with a time of 1 minute, 37.03 seconds.

Lopez, one of program's top swimmers last season, also was second in the 100 breaststroke (57.64) and ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:00.52).

"Zach is definitely a gamer," Hughes said. "He will race and challenge to win every time he swims. He just continues to thrive and is really talented. He's as veteran as you can be for a sophomore."

Bolton, meanwhile, finished eighth in the 200 backstroke (2:03.63). In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Sorensen, Wimberly, Travis Jenkins and Kyle Newhouse had an A-cut time of 3:17.88 and a second place finish. Also, Nathan Meese was eighth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:58.89.

Leesburg's Amanda Burnette, on the Darton women's side, continues to be one of the Lady Cavaliers' leaders after finishing second in the 50 free (24.83).

"She continues to be really consistent with her racing and keeps her time around the 24-second range," Hughes said of Burnette, who holds the school record of 24.2 seconds. "She is right on top of that and is more experienced in her racing. Other team's coaches are circling her name on the heat sheets, and she is handling that well."

Another strong finish from the meet was recorded by Lindsey Johnson, who finished 11th in the 1,650 free (18:57.48).

"The strength of the women's team is depth," Hughes said. "Amanda leads the way, but we also have a good six-to-eight girls who can help us defend our second-place national finish from last year."

The men, who finished third last season, are represented on the four-year collegiate level by Chip Aplin (Kentucky), national champion Aviv Sela (University of Indianapolis) and Chris Rojas (Lindenwood).

DARTON WRESTLING GEARS UP FOR HOME MEET: The Cavaliers will host the Cavalier Duals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cavalier Arena. The Cavaliers, ranked eighth in NJCAA non-scholarship, defeated Spartanburg, 33-8, in a meet last week in Atlanta. Spartanburg is ranked 19th in the scholarship division. During that match, Luis Ponce (125) scored a huge win for the Cavaliers, beating the country's 12th-ranked wrestler, Chris Jones, in overtime, 7-5.

"It's big for us and it shows we are going in the right direction and the kids are doing the right things," Cavaliers coach Josh Watts told The Herald last week. "Hopefully we can continue going in that direction."

DARTON WOMEN'S HOOPS AT .500: After Sunday's 66-62 loss against Central Florida Community College, the Lady Cavaliers' basketball team is 6-6.

Coach Laura Blackwell, however, is not worried.

"We look at it as the preseason," said Blackwell, whose team went undefeated during the 2008-09 regular-season region schedule which traditionally starts in January. "It's probably not the best start for us in several years, but with the competitiveness, I feel we are getting better and better. I'm not much worried about the record right now, but we need to be ready in January."

Darton has been led by former Monroe High star Dominique Gilbert, who transferred this past offseason from Gulf Coast Community College.

"She has been one of the key forces for us," Blackwell said. "We've expected that and we will continue to expect that from her. She is our inside game."

The Lady Cavaliers, however, are a young team with freshman D'Arcy Williams playing point guard.

"She's done a super job for us, but anytime you have some freshmen who are learning the system, I feel it takes time for everything to jell," Blackwell said. "We have come close to winning some of the games that we lost. We could have been 9-3."

ANDREW WOMEN WINNING: Last year, the Andrew women's basketball team won all of five games.

But this season, the Lady Tigers have won six and lost eight, including a sweep of LB Wallace.

To put in perspective the strides Andrew has made, Darton split with LB Wallace.

"I saw that," Andrew coach Mike Riffe said. "Hopefully that can get our confidence up."

Andrew starts five freshmen, and Joy Hoskins has led the way, averaging 15 points a game.

Keela Griffin is

averaging 12 and Kristen Walker is close to a double-double, averaging 9.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.

"I'm very lucky to have these kids who can work together," Riffe said. "We have some talent out on the perimeter and seem to play better defense than last year's team."

Hoskins scored 34 points during the win against LB Wallace.

"She is an extremely good athlete," Riffe said. "She can take the ball to the hole and shoot the 3. She definitely likes to be in the middle of the action. She's not shy to put the ball up."