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Trio of Darton soccer stars named NJCAA

ALBANY — The NJCAA announced Darton State College sophomores Troy Tucker, Soren Yuhaschek and Jowayne Laidley as Division I men’s soccer All-Americans.

“They’ve been huge,” Darton men’s soccer coach Bart Sasnett said of the trio. “They’ve taken our program to another level.”

Tucker earned first team All-America honors for the second straight year, while Yuhaschek was named to the second team and Laidley to the third team for the Cavs, who finished third in the nation for the second consecutive season and were ranked No. 1 for nearly the entire season.

During the freshman and sophomore seasons of the trio, the Cavs were 38-3-1 overall and 22-0 in conference play. The program captured two Region XVII titles, two Southeast District Championships and two NJCAA final four appearances.

“That speaks volumes about these young men and the entire sophomore class,” Sasnett said.

Tucker, who also earned Region XVII Player of the Year honors, is a central midfielder from Smiths Parish, Bermuda.

“Troy is as good as any player that I’ve ever coached,” Sasnett said. “His leadership, on and off the field, is unchallenged.”

Yuhaschek came to Darton from Freedom High School in Orlando, Fla. His role as central defender for the Cavs kept opponents to only 13 goals in the 2012 season.

“Soren is our second center back to become an All-American,” Sasnett said, “and he’s as good a player as any defender I’ve ever coached.”

Laidley joined the Cavs after graduating from Colonial High School in Orlando, Fla. He finished his sophomore season with 13 goals.

“He’s so lethal and such a threat,” Sasnett said. “He’s elusive and dynamic. He’s tough to mark and a phenomenal (one-on-one) threat — there are few defenders that can mark him.”

DARTON WRESTLERS SWEEP: Darton State College swept three four-year collegiate wrestling programs in the Cavalier Duals, Saturday, at the Cavalier Arena in Albany.

Darton’s lightweights — Jamel Sharp (125 pounds), Robert Sharp (125), Howard Earl (133) and Brandon Owens (141) — were undefeated and scored four pins, and the heavier Cavs did their part to capture some notable wins for the Darton program.

The Cavs beat the University of Central Florida, 24-23, Shorter College, 24-22, and Truett-McConnell College, 33-16.

“I was proud of the way we competed,” said Darton head wrestling coach James Hicks, who is in his first season as head of the Cavs program. “We had one sophomore in the lineup and the rest were freshmen, yet we still managed to beat three four-year schools. The young guys are stepping up, and the team is coming together nicely.

“We have goals for this season, and I’d say we are on track to accomplishing those.”

Twins Jamel and Robert Sharp, both freshmen from Valdosta and wrestling at 125, won by pins. Cavalier 184-pounder Kalin Willhite pinned opponents from Shorter and Central Florida, while Earl, Owens and Albany native Harrison Stadnick (197) won by pins as well.

The Cavaliers are scheduled to wrestle next at Brewton Parker Wednesday, before traveling to Newberry, S.C., for the Newberry College Duals on Saturday.

LADY CAVS FINISH 6TH IN POOL: The Darton State College Lady Cavaliers finished sixth at the 8th annual SCAD Invitational in Savannah on Saturday.

Darton scored 220 points to beat four of 10 teams. Sophomores Anna Macht and Emilty Mitchell led the Lady Cavs’ effort.

Macht, a returning national champion, won the 400 IM and the 100 breaststroke competitions, swimming 4:31.21 and 1:06.41, respectively. She also finished third in the 200 IM, finishing in 2:08.75.

Mitchell, also a sophomore, swam a 58:39 to finish fourth in the 100 backstroke.

“Even though we placed the same overall as last year, our individual times were faster,” Darton head women’s swim coach Molly Gilbert said. “We are at our halfway point in the season, and we are already in a better place as a team than we were last year. The girls are dropping times as the meets go on — some have even better times than they did at nationals last year. This meet was the biggest one of the semester, and the girls performed well above my expectations.”

Wingate University won the meet, SCAD finished second and University of North Florida finished third.