Blackburn signs with GSW cross country

Photo by Scott Chancey

Photo by Scott Chancey

ALBANY -- Whitney Blackburn will stay close to home and continue collegiate cross-country running.

Blackburn, who went to Baconton Charter and competed the past two years for Darton, signed Thursday to spend her next two years running for Georgia Southwestern.

"They have a cross-country team and that's something I was looking forward to," said Blackburn, who credited Darton coach David Mann and assistant Bruce Skiles for her progress at Darton. "It's not too far from home and I they have a really good education program."

Blackburn, who said she plans to major in special education, said she also was considering Valdosta State. She was one of Darton's top runners both years, dominating the team's regular season her freshman year and then finishing second at this year's region meet. Her fastest time of the season was 21 minutes, three seconds along a five-kilometer course.

"She was just one of those runners you really enjoy coaching," Mann said. "She listened well and always trained hard and always wanted to get better every day."

The Darton women emphasized running in packs throughout this season and finished as region champions. She hopes that kind of team concept will be carried with her while at Georgia Southwestern.

"I learned that teamwork makes a difference," she said. "Without some good teammates, you cannot succeed."