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LOCAL COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Darton men's soccer No. 1 in NJCAA poll for first time

ALBANY -- The Darton men's soccer team has consistently moved up the national polls this season.

On Wednesday, the Cavs finally reached the top.

For the first time in the history of the program, the men's soccer team is ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA poll.

"It's a great feeling. It's great for Darton, great for Albany and great for the community," Darton coach Bart Sasnett said. "This is great recognition for the hard work that we have put in so far."

The Cavs defeated South Georgia College, 1-0, on Tuesday to improve to 9-1 overall and 6-0 in Region XVII play. Earlier Tuesday, the Cavs were voted No. 1 in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America Junior College Poll.

On Wednesday, Sasnett said being the unanimous No. 1 team does put a target on the back of the Cavs.

"Teams will play you different and harder because they want to knock off the No. 1 team in the country," Sasnett said. "The biggest thing for us is to stay focused and take it game by game."

The Cavs ended last season ranked No. 5 in the country, which was the highest ranking for the program prior to this season.

Other Darton program's to be ranked No. 1 in the country are men's golf and women's soccer.

Darton's top ranking was announced just in time for the Cavs' game at 2 p.m. Saturday against their biggest rival -- Georgia Perimeter.

"Everybody hates Darton, but we hate Georgia Perimeter," Sasnett said.

The Cavs 6-0 region record has them on target for the No. 1 seed in the postseason, while Georgia Perimeter is in sole possession of second place with a 4-2-1 region record.

GSW GOLFERS RANKED 22ND: The Georgia Southwestern men's golf team achieved a milestone on Wednesday as it cracked the NCAA Division II national poll for the first time in school history. The Hurricanes, winners of two tournaments this fall, earned the 24th spot in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches' Poll.

"It's a tremendous accomplishment for our program, but it's early in the season," head coach Andrew Danna said. "We have to continue to improve. The competition is only going to get tougher from here on out."

Those challenges begin almost immediately for the Hurricanes when they travel up the road to Columbus for the Cougar Invitiational on Monday. GSW will face seven teams in the top 25 (No. 3 Lynn, No. 4 Barry, No. 8 North Alabama, No. 13 Columbus State, No. 19 Newberry, No. 20 Florida Southern and No. 21 Flagler) and three schools that received votes in the poll (Valdosta State, Carson-Newman and Lander).

GSW has played well this fall, winning two of three events. The Hurricanes won the 17-team Kiawah Invitational on Sept. 6 and grabbed the inaugural RTJ Grand National Challenge triangular held Sept. 17.

ASU RUNNERS CAPTURE BIATHLON TITLES: Albany State's Curtis Fluker and Jessica Mann made history on Saturday by winning the first HPER Club/SAAC Golden Rams Biathlon.

The contest was held at ASU HPER Gym and was open to faculty, staff and students. The biathlon served as a campus competition where participants competed in a 250-meter swimming event and a 3K run.

"This was our first time hosting a biathlon for Albany State, and it was a success," HPER Club advisor LaTonya Conner said. "The HPER Club and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee always collaborate to produce events that will be fun and beneficial not only for our student-athletes, but also for ASU faculty, staff and fellow students."

Fluker, a sophomore power forward for the ASU men's basketball team and Waycross native, won the swimming event by two full laps and placed first in the 3K run.

"I was ready from the start," Fluker said. "It was supposed to be a friendly competition, but I was glad I came out the winner. It gives me something that I can use to talk a little trash to my teammates."

Mann, a freshman outside hitter for the ASU women's volleyball team and Stone Mountain native, won the female swimming competition by three laps and also finished as the top runner in the 3K. However, Mann used the event for a different purpose.

"I like competing and winning, but I really liked meeting some of the student-athletes that I didn't know," Mann said. "This competition gave me a chance to build some good relationships with my school mates and that's always important. It was just a fun experience."

ASU Interim Athletics Director and Chair of the HPER Department Richard Williams agrees with Mann's assessment.

"The biathlon had a great turnout of participants," Williams said. "The students had a lot of fun competing (against) each other and created a strong fellowship. SAAC and the HPER Club are to be commended for their efforts in arranging this event."

Joshua Alford, an ASU men's basketball player from Sylvester took second in the male swimming event, and his teammate, Cairo native Stephen Francis, finished third in both events. Demetrius Jones of LaGrange finished second in the 3K run.

In the women's division, ASU women's basketball players Symone Wilkerson of Bonaire and April Thomas of Bainbridge finished second and third, respectively, behind Mann's top finish in the swimming event. ASU track runner Sherinna Lewis of Columbus placed second in the 3K event, followed by Breanna Fields of Orlando, Fla. in third place.