MACON- Darton College sophomore Kingsley Cajuste scored Darton College's best-ever finish at the Mercer University RunFit Sports Invitational race on Saturday.
Cajuste, a physical education major from Grand Island, Bahamas, ran the 8,000-meter run in 26:06 to finish sixth overall and to crush the former school record - shared by him and former teammate Adam Ross - of 26:56.
Cajuste is now the No. 1 runner in the GCAA. Results of his individual national ranking are not yet available, but according to Darton coach Bruce Skiles, Cajuste could be one of the best in the NJCAA.
"He told me at the end of last season that he wants to be an All-American," Skiles said. "I think he's capable. We're only getting going and we will continue to get his times down."
It looks like that's just what Cajuste is doing. In 2010 he ran the same race in 29:01, meaning that now he has taken nearly three minutes off of his 8K time since this point last season.
He ran the former school-record time at the NJCAA Nationals in November at the close of the 2010 season.
According to Skiles, running this fast this early in the season means that Cajuste and his teammates have two more months of intense training before the "big show" this November.
Skiles said that despite the moderately hilly course on Saturday at the Georgia Children's Home, nearly all of his runners ran personal-record times, leading the Cavaliers to a third place finish in a meet that included only one other JUCO in the 15-team field.
Heath Lamb, a sophomore from Moultrie, just broke the 27-minute mark and finished 17th overall (26:59), freshman Ryan Judson, of Macon, finished 27th (27:37), sophomore Nathan Norton, of Americus, finished 29th (27:41) and freshman Cody Mallchok, of Canton, finished 30th (27:51) to give Darton a team score of 102.
The team average for the 8K run was n 27:22. The average last year at the same race was 28:42.
"I have five guys who all finished faster than my No. 1 guy last year (my son Brandon Skiles, 28:05)," Skiles said.
Mercer University won the race with 35 points, followed by Savannah College of Art and Design's 38 points.
Jeronda Stringfield, a freshman from Pensacola, Fla., ran the women's 5K in 21:02 to finish 17th overall and lead the Lady Cavs to a 4th-place finish among 11 teams. Sophomore Shay Wright, of Griffin, finished 18th (21:13), freshman Hayden Clapper, of Oviedo, Fla., finished 25th (21:45) and freshman Vanessa Pina, of Leesburg, finished 34th (22:25) to sum up the team score of 129 points. Stringfield is now considered the No.1 runner in the GCAA.