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LOCAL COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Darton swim team shatters six school records

Darton men's and women's swimming and diving coach Molly Gilbert thinks her talented team can finish even higher at nationals this year after she watched six school records fall over the weekend.

Darton men's and women's swimming and diving coach Molly Gilbert thinks her talented team can finish even higher at nationals this year after she watched six school records fall over the weekend.

SAVANNAH — One after another, the records fell.

But it’s not like Darton College’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving coach Molly Gilbert wasn’t expecting it.

She watched her teams break six school records and finish fourth overall in the three-day Savannah College of Art and Design Invitational that ended Saturday, and Gilbert Tuesday said it’s just the beginning of what she believes her teams can accomplish this season.

“Our team is in a better place this year than we were last year,” said Gilbert, whose women’s team finished fourth at nationals last season, while men’s team finished fifth. “We are going to have an intense week of winter training after Christmas, and I expect the team to get even faster. We are going to swim fast at nationals and place higher than we did last year.”

Anna Macht, a freshman from Germany, was a big reason why the Lady Cavs were able to rewrite so much of their record book over the weekend. She posted top-four finishes and broke school records in all of her individual events.

Macht won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.75), then finished second in the 200 individual medley (2:07.51), second in the 400 individual medley (4:31.73) and fourth in the 200 breast stroke (2:24.47).

“She just has the talent and the drive and the technique,” Gilbert said of her star swimmer. “She came here with that great technique.”

Also setting school records were Emily Mitchell, who finished fourth in the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.86, and Deniss Jariga, who finished second in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:52.58.

The Lady Cavs finished sixth overall, while the men finished fourth. The only top finisher for the men was TJ Bland, who won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 56.64. The freshman from Catonsville, Md., also took fourth in the 200 breaststroke and sixth in the 400 individual medley.

DARTON MEN’S SOCCER STARS RAMOS, TUCKER EARN ALL-AMERICAN HONORS: Darton soccer stars Diego Ramos and Troy Tucker weren’t able to bring home a national championship last month, but the two received some nice consolation prizes Tuesday.

Ramos and Tucker were named First-Team All-Americans by the NJCAA, an honor that Cavs coach Bart Sasnett said both are deserving of.

“We have a lot of good players, but these two are great,” Sasnett said. “These are the kind of players that you take to the national tournament.”

Ramos, a sophomore from Deerfield Beach, Fla., led the league in assists (30), scored 17 goals and was also named Region XVII Player of the Year. He was the offensive leader all year for the Cavs before a knee injury kept him out of the final weeks of the season and the national tournament.

“I was very happy,” Ramos said. “That was a goal I’ve had since coming back this season — to be an All American.”

Tucker, who is now the program’s first freshman to earn All-America honors, was so focused on pushing his team to a national championship he apparently didn’t realize that he was putting himself in a position to receive the prized award.

“Diego told me I had a chance to get it,” said Tucker, who is from Bermuda. “But I didn’t really know what it was. I just knew it was something good.”

As a defensive midfielder, Tucker scored six goals, including one that gave the Cavs a double overtime victory in the Region XVII Championship against Georgia Perimeter and another that tied Tyler (Texas) in the third-place game at nationals.

Colleges from as far away as Detroit are interested in signing Tucker, who said the only decision he’s made so far regarding his future is to stay another year at Darton.

Ramos verbally committed to the University of West Florida on Monday and plans to transfer in the fall of 2012.

“They’re great guys,” Sasnett said. “They’ve been an excellent representation of the Darton College soccer program and the institution.”

GSW’S RANDALL NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: The start to the Georgia Southwestern women’s basketball season keeps getting better and better.

On Monday afternoon, the Peach Belt Conference named GSW forward Adrian Randall its Player of the Week.

It’s the first time a Lady Hurricane has been named Player of the Week since the program became a NCAA Division II member and joined the PBC in 2006.

“I’m excited for Adrian and excited for the team,” coach Kelly Britsky said Tuesday. “Things like this will keep her moving forward and keep her focused on what she can accomplish. I am very proud for her.”

Randall, a junior from Brooklyn, N.Y., averaged 14.5 points and 14 rebounds last week as GSW won both of its games by an average margin of 49 points. Her 25 points and 17 rebounds in GSW’s 101-57 victory at Montevallo were season highs, and it was the junior’s third double-double of the season. The win against the Lady Falcons was also the program’s first victory one the road at Montevallo.

Nine games into the season, the forward is averaging 12.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game. Those numbers put Randall second in the PBC in blocks, third in rebounding and seventh in scoring.

“She has been a great force inside,” Britsky said. “She has put up great numbers and has been a beast on the block. She has done a great job of giving us a great presence in the middle.”

The junior has been a key part of GSW’s history-making 8-1 start. As a team, GSW is leading the Peach Belt Conference in scoring and rebounding.

GSW MEN FALL 7 SPOTS IN LATEST D-II POLL: The Georgia Southwestern men’s basketball team slid back seven spots to 19th in Tuesday’s NABC Coaches Top 25 Poll after dropping its Peach Belt Conference opener at Montevallo, 66-60, on Saturday. Last week’s No. 12 ranking was the program’s best ever in a Division II Coaches Poll. Still, the Hurricanes are the only Peach Belt Conference team to be ranked in the Top 25; Montevallo received votes and is currently 27th.

During the 2010-11 season, the Hurricanes earned their first showing in the Top 25 poll. They spent five weeks ranked throughout the season. The No. 19 ranking ensures the Hurricanes will be ranked for the second week in the young 2011-12 season.

Their 6-1 start to the season is the team’s best in the NCAA Division II era through the season’s first seven games. The Hurricanes will play their eighth game Dec. 14 at Clayton State University at 7:30 p.m.

GSW GOLF SIGN TOP RECRUITS: With three seniors set to complete their final rounds for 10th-ranked Georgia Southwestern this spring, men’s golf coach Andrew Danna knows he must reload to remain a top program in the country.

He believes he as done just that.

As first reported by The Herald this past Saturday, Danna recently signed Matthew Whittaker and Matthew Mell for the 2012-13 academic year.

Whittaker, a sophomore at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas, is ranked 23rd in the NJCAA in scoring average (72.46) and is tied for 10th in subpar strokes per round (4.08) this fall. He finished second at the 66-player High Country Shootout in Ruidoso, N.M., on Sept. 25-26 with a 13-under par 203 that included a 65 in the final round.

In 2010, Whittaker finished 20th at the NJCAA National Championships at Odessa (Texas) Country Club.

A Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, native, Whittaker has qualified for the Alberta Amateur tournament the last two summers, shooting the low round (72) in 2011 at Olds Central Highlands Golf Club.

Mell is completing his senior year at Calvary Day School in Savannah. He is coming off a very successful junior campaign for the Cavaliers that culminated with a runner-up finish in Class A at the GHSA state tournament and an All-Region First Team selection.

Mell was a 2011 All-Greater Savannah First Team honoree after earning a Second Team selection as a sophomore in 2010. He has been the team MVP for three consecutive years.

Current GSW seniors Craig Gibson, Chris Hall and Casey Hicks look to leave the program on top for Whittaker and Mell as the Hurricanes, ranked 10th in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf NCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll, return to the links for the spring season Feb. 17 at the Frito Lay AT&T Intercollegiate in Philadelphia, Miss.