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Darton sweeps Region XVII cross country championships

Darton cross country coach Bruce Skiles watched his men and women teams both win Region XVII titles over the weekend.

Darton cross country coach Bruce Skiles watched his men and women teams both win Region XVII titles over the weekend.

ACWORTH — The Darton State College men’s and women’s cross country teams clinched conference titles Friday at the 2012 Region XVII Championships at the Cobb Corps Property in Acworth.

It was the fourth consecutive championship title for the Darton men’s team and the fifth for the women’s team.

But this year was different, according to Darton head XC coach Bruce Skiles.

“This is the best team we’ve ever had,” he said.

With four runners among the top five finishers, the Cavaliers had a near-perfect score of 18 points Friday. The team’s average 8K time was 26:47.21.

Darton freshman Jared Richmond won the men’s championship and set a new school record, completing the 8K in 26:04.38. Close behind were sophomores Cody Mallchok (26:15) and Hank Campbell (26:28), who finished second and third, respectively.

Freshman Ean Crawford finished fifth, running 27:22, and at 27:44 sophomore Nick Mascardo finished seventh to complete Darton’s score.

The women’s top five runners averaged 20:49, and seven Lady Cavs finished among the Top 10 and four finished in the Top 5.

“They ran in packs,” Skiles said. “I’ve never had four girls under 21 minutes and then another three under 22. I think this is the best overall women’s team we’ve ever had.”

Sophomore Jeronda Stringfield led the Darton effort, finishing second overall with a time of 20:40. Alexis Skiles (20:43), Hayden Clapper (20:46) and Elena Oslund (20:48) finished third, fourth and fifth respectively. Kaitlyn Winter ran the 5K in 21:10 to finish seventh and complete Darton’s score of 21 points.