Darton soccer coaches Bart Sasnett, left, and Ken Veilands
ALBANY — What a way to start the season.
The NJCAA recently released its men’s and women’s preseason soccer polls, and Darton State College is near the top in both.
The Darton women’s team will begin the season as the No. 2-ranked team, while the men were ranked No. 3.
“It’s good because we have to play (No. 1 ranked) Tyler in our second game of the season, and that’s kind of fun. We could beat them and become number one,” women’s coach Ken Veilands said.
The Darton women’s program is also scheduled to face two other teams that earned Top 20 rankings — No. 8 Brevard Community College and conference-foe No. 17 Georgia Perimeter College.
The Lady Cavs finished the 2011 season as national runners-up, with an 18-2 record.
“You have to be realistic,” Veilands said. “This poll is based off the result of history — not this year.”
On the men’s side, coach Bart Sasnett has similar ideas.
“I think it’s a great representation of the success of the program’s past season,” he said. “I also think it puts a big ‘X’ on your back where everybody’s gunning for you, and it makes your work that much harder.”
The Cavaliers went into the NJCAA championship as the top seed in 2011 and finished third overall. The men’s team will host the 2012 national championship tournament in November.
Lee County Dixie League baseball team finishes 3rd in World Series
BARTOW, Fla. — The boys from Lee County made the trip back north Wednesday night after being eliminated from the Dixie League World Series.
But Lee County coach Shawn Snedden, whose team finished in third place after losing to South Carolina, 8-3, on Wednesday, said his squad came back home with their heads held high.
“This was a special group,” Snedden said. “(After Wednesday’s game) the coach from South Carolina came over to us and said that we had the best class of kids in the entire tournament.”
They had some skill to go along with their class, too.
They finished 3-2 in the tournament, which ends with tonight’s championship game.
On Wednesday, Lee County got on the board in the first inning when Garrett Suiter stole third and was knocked in by a Tyler Ross’ single.
The other two runs came from Tommy Butler, who hit a solo home run in the third and an RBI single in the fifth to score Aaron Greene.
Gavin Paul, Zachary Parrish and Suiter all pitched in the final game.
“It was a good run,” Snedden said. “This team will be around for a while in another uniform.”
Randolph Southern softball tops SGA
DAMASCUS — Madison Ragan allowed just one hit Wednesday against Southwest Georgia Academy to lead the Randolph Southern softball team to a 11-0, five-inning victory.
Ragan threw all five innings and struck out eight. She was also 3-for-3 at the plate with a home run, a double and three RBI.
Other offensive leaders for Randolph Southern (1-1) were Braylie Blanton (2-for-3, triple, two RBI), Elizabeth Lumpkin (1-for-3, double, three RBI), Dana McCarter (2-for-3, double, RBI) and Madison Langford (2-for-2, two RBI).
Former Darton star runner to coach GSW
AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern named Brittney Skiles head women’s cross country coach on Wednesday.
Skiles, daughter of Darton cross country coach Bruce Skiles, was one of the most successful runners to come through the Darton program.
In 2007, Skiles was the Region XVII individual champion, was named to the All-Georgia 2nd Team and was on the All-Region 1st Team.
“I’m excited about becoming head cross country coach at Georgia Southwestern,” Skiles said. “I’m looking forward to reaching goals the cross country team has never accomplished before.”
Most recently, Skiles served as a student assistant coach at Columbus State for the 2011-12 school year.
She replaces Stephen Cox, who left the GSW program in the spring to become the head men’s basketball coach at Thomas University.
During her storied career with Columbus State, Skiles became the first two time Peach Belt Conference woman runner of the year since the award went to a voting system in 2008.