LOCAL COLLEGE ROUNDUP: Darton State named No. 4 NJCAA program in nation

Darton athletics director Mike Kiefer

Darton athletics director Mike Kiefer

ALBANY — The National Alliance of Two Year College Athletic Administrators voted the Darton State College Cavaliers as the No. 4 athletic department in the NJCAA in its winter sports poll.

The announcement follows Darton’s 2012-13, conference-sweeping basketball, wrestling and swimming and diving seasons.

Darton’s winter sports culminated in three national champions — wrestler Jamel Sharp and divers Crawford Berry and Sarah Hoop.

Also, the women’s basketball team won its first conference and district championships in over a decade, and sophomore guard Michelle Mitchell became the program’s first NJCAA 1st-Team All-American.

“We owe a lot of thanks to our student-athletes, coaches, staff, our faculty and our college president,” Darton State College athletics director Mike Kiefer said.

The Cavaliers finished fourth in the fall sports polls as well. Spring standing have not been announced.

ASU TOP WOMEN’S PROGRAM IN CONFERENCE: For the second consecutive year, the Albany State Lady Rams’ athletic programs received the conference’s Women’s All-Sports Award for the 2012-13 season. This year’s title marks the ninth time in 10 years that Albany State has captured the award.

ASU scored a total of 34 points, which was three points more than runner-up Benedict College, and six greater than third-place Clark Atlanta University. Albany State won conference championships in cross country and softball and received runner-up finishes in volleyball and track & field.

The All-Sports Trophy is presented to the athletic department within the conference that has excelled in both men’s and women’s sports. A scoring system of 10 points for conference titles, seven points for runner-up finishes in championships, and four points for 3rd place is used to determine the all-sports standings.

GAHMAN NAMED ALL-REGION: Georgia Southwestern men’s golfer Nate Gahman, a Leesburg native and former Herald Player of the Year, was named to the NCAA Division II PING All-Region Southeast Team.

Gahman capped off a successful senior season with a memorable postseason run. The All-Peach Belt Conference First Team honoree led the Hurricanes throughout the three-day, three-round South/Southeast Super Regional and earned the program’s second trip to the national tournament as an individual after carding a 3-over par 219 total. At nationals, Gahman fired a final-round 73 to finish tied for 19th place overall out of 108 golfers.

Gahman ended the year second in the Peach Belt Conference with a 73.6 scoring average. He posted four top-10 finishes in 12 events. Of the 33 rounds played in 2012-13, he finished under par 10 times with a season-low round of 3-under 69 coming in the second round of the PBC Tournament.

Gahman is the program’s fourth All-Region honoree with all four selections coming over the past four seasons.

HURRICANES EARN PBC AWARDS: The Georgia Southwestern baseball and men’s tennis programs recently garnered Peach Belt Conference Team Sportsmanship Awards in their respective sports.

The PBC Sportsmanship Award program presents an award following each championship season to the team in that sport that best exemplifies the spirit of sportsmanship and generally conducts themselves with a high degree of integrity, character and class. The PBC presents one such award for each of its 13 championship sports. The award is voted on by other teams in that sport.

GSW men’s tennis tied with Georgia College this spring for sportsmanship honors, and the schools will share the recognition. The Hurricanes have won three-consecutive men’s tennis sportsmanship awards and have been the recipient in four of the five years the program has been in existence.

It is the first PBC Sportsmanship Award for the Southwestern baseball team.

GSW earned four team awards in 2012-13 (women’s soccer, men’s soccer, baseball and men’s tennis) but came up short in the overall point tally as Flagler College won the PBC Institution of the Year Sportsmanship Award for the third consecutive year.

GSW’S MCGOWAN HONORED: Mollie McGowan, a senior on the Georgia Southwestern women’s cross country team, has been named to the 2012-13 Capital One Academic All-District III Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country Team.

McGowan holds a 3.97 grade point average as an exercise science major. With the first-team selection, she now becomes eligible to earn Academic All-American honors, with voting to be done in the near future.

A three-year member of the Lady Hurricanes cross country program, McGowan eclipsed her 5k personal-best mark by 49 seconds with a time of 22:32 this fall at the 10-team Point Invite on Oct. 5, finishing 24th. She then beat her own 6k best time at the Peach Belt Conference meet on Oct. 20 with a 27:13.

In addition, McGowan was recently named GSW Female Scholar Athlete of the Year for the second consecutive year.