LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Darton to host NJCAA National Championship tourney for men’s soccer; GSW releases men’s hoops schedule

Darton's men's soccer team will host the national tournament.

Darton's men's soccer team will host the national tournament.

ALBANY — Darton State College will bring the 2012 NJCAA Division I men’s soccer National Championship tournament to Albany.

Officials estimate the tournament will draw thousands to the Darton campus and bring an economic impact to the surrounding area of more than $800,000.

“It is great to host an event that will give the college, city and county such national exposure,” said Martha Snow, tournament director and Darton State College events coordinator. “The potential economic impact of this tournament is much greater than the women’s tournaments hosted on-campus in 2006 and 2007 since the tournament format has expanded from eight to 12 teams.

“It is anticipated that over 4,000 spectators will be visiting Albany for the duration of the tournament.”

Unlike the women’s national championships previously hosted by Darton that consisted of eight teams, a total of 12 teams from eight districts will compete in the tournament, which begins Nov. 12.

“We are excited that the NJCAA has awarded us the opportunity to host this national championship tournament,” Darton A.D. Mike Kiefer said. “On a national platform, it provides us the chance to showcase all that Darton State College has to offer.”

The Cavs, who finished tied for third last year in the nationals — which were held in Phoenix— hope to be one of the teams competing for a national title on their home field come November.

“The NJCAA asked us to submit a bid during last year’s nationals because they wanted to hold (the next tournament) on the East Coast, and we were more than happy to. It’d be a huge advantage if we’re able to make it to nationals again. We haven’t lost a home game since 2010,” Darton men’s coach Bart Sasnett said. “It will be a first for the men to host, and it would be the worst feeling in the world if we didn’t make it and had to watch it play out on our home field without us. I feel good about our chances, though. We have a talented group returning from last year’s team with nine of those players having nationals experience.”

Darton opens practice Aug. 4.

GSW RELEASES HOOPS SCHEDULE: Georgia Southwestern State University head men’s basketball coach Mike Leeder released the program’s 2012-13 schedule Tuesday, and it features 14 games at home and 12 on the road.

GSW opens the 2012-13 campaign with five consecutive home games, beginning Nov. 9 when Fort Valley State visits the Storm Dome. Then comes the program’s first-ever meeting against Brevard College (Nov. 10), followed by a visit from local D-II rival Albany State (Nov. 17), then North Alabama (Nov. 24) and Tusculum College (Nov. 25).

The Hurricanes hit the road for the first time Dec. 8 — almost a full month after the season opener — with a trip to Greeneville, Tenn., to complete a home-and-home series with Tusculum.

PBC play begins Dec. 11 for the Hurricanes with a trip to Milledgeville for a game with Georgia College. Hurricane fans have one opportunity to catch GSW at home in December against Clayton State (Dec. 15).

A trip to North Alabama on Dec. 30 rounds out non-conference play.

PBC play ensues the rest of the season. The Hurricanes open 2013 at home with visits from USC Aiken (Jan. 3) and PBC newcomer Young Harris College (Jan. 5).

A pair of road games follow vs. Francis Marion (Dec. 12) and UNC Pembroke (Dec. 13).

After a quick stop at home against Montevallo (Jan. 17), GSW hits the road for its toughest stretch of the season — a four-game PBC swing that includes visits to Flagler (Jan. 19), Armstrong (Jan. 21), North Georgia (Jan. 24) and Columbus State (Jan. 26).

Down the stretch, GSW will play five of its final eight games at home between Jan. 30 and March 2.

GSW hosts Lander (Jan. 30), Columbus State (Feb. 7), Georgia College (Feb. 9), Augusta State (Feb. 16) and North Georgia (Mar. 2).

The matchup against Georgia College on Feb. 9 will server as GSW’s 2013 Homecoming game.

The Peach Belt Conference Tournament begins March 7 with the top four teams in each division qualifying for the postseason event. Columbus State will host this year’s tourney with the winner earning the PBC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

GSW is coming off of a disappointing 12-14 campaign. The Hurricanes were a perfect 9-0 in non-conference play before stumbling to a 3-14 record in Peach Belt Conference action after a rash of injuries and departures.

Andrew College sophomore softball star Donalson earns NJCAA Superior Academic Achievement Award

CUTHBERT — The NJCAA recently announced Andrew College softball star Jennifer Donalson of Cairo as a recipient of the Award for Superior Academic Achievement.

Donalson’s outstanding academic achievements and on-the-field play have earned her a scholarship to play softball at Truitt-McConnell next season.

Andrew College Softball Coach Mark Brown was thrilled.

“Jennifer is an outstanding person, student and player. It is an outstanding honor for both her and the college,” Brown said.

Andrew begins its softball season Jan. 30.