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Darton sweeps region cross country titles for fifth straight year

Darton sophomore Elena Oslund was the individual Region XVII champion in Saturday’s state meet on the Cavs’ home course. (David Mann/Darton State College)

Darton sophomore Elena Oslund was the individual Region XVII champion in Saturday’s state meet on the Cavs’ home course. (David Mann/Darton State College)

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Darton cross country runners, from left, Victor Chicas, Ean Crawford and Austin Stewart all finished in the Top 6 for the Cavs, who won a fifth straight Region XVII title. (David Mann/Darton State College)

ALBANY — The Darton State College cross country teams swept the Region XVII meets for the fifth year in a row Saturday.

It was a banner day for the Cavs’ program as 10 Darton runners earned All-Region honors, sophomore Elena Oslund became the Region XVII women’s champion and Darton head coach Bruce Skiles became the men’s and women’s Coach of the Year.

Oslund led the Lady Cavaliers to a perfect score. She finished the women’s 5K in a blazing 19:51. Sophomore Alexis Skiles finished second (20:50), followed by Amber Braswell (3rd, 21:31), Jaishell Thomas (4th, 21:40) and Victoria Parra (7th, 21:48).

Runners from Georgia Military College and Gordon College finished fifth and sixth, but their places did not count in team scores as both colleges had incomplete teams.

Darton finished with 15 points. South Georgia College finished second with 46 points, and North Georgia Technical College took third with 78 points.

In the men’s race, Cale Pirtle of North Georgia Technical College won individual honors as he ran a scorching 26:25 8K over the Cavalier Trails course. For most of the race he was battling shoulder-to-shoulder with Georgia Military’s Davin Melton, who finished only six seconds behind him.

Then the top five Cavaliers rolled in third through seventh to score 25 points and secure another conference title.

Victor Chicas finished third in 26:45, Austin Steward was fourth (26:54), David Thornton was fifth (27:20), Ean Crawford was sixth (27:50) and Jelani Omari took seventh (28:18).

North Georgia Tech finished second with 53 points, and South Georgia College finished third with 95.

“We want to build a dynasty,” said Skiles, who has swept conference titles every season since taking over the program in 2010. “I’m pleased. There were a couple who didn’t run well, but it’s hard to get all of them to run well in one race.”

“That’s why you need depth,” he continued. “That’s what we got. That’s what wins.”

The Cavaliers will travel next to Fort Dodge, Iowa, for the NJCAA D-1 Cross Country National Championship at Lakeside Golf Course on Nov. 9.

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All-Region XVII 1st team, women:

ELENA OSLUND……………….DARTON

BRIANA ALEXIS SKILES…..DARTON

AMBER BRASWELL………….DARTON

JAISHELL THOMAS…………DARTON

Sarah Williams ………………………..GMC

All-Region XVII 2nd team, women:

Allisom Mangham…………………….GORDON

VICTORIA PARRA……………DARTON

Samantha Arroyo…………………….SGC

Tori Irvin…………………………………SGC

Alecia Gerra…………………………….NGT

All-Region XVII 1st team, men:

Cale Pirtle……………………………….NGT

Davin Melton………………………….GMC

VICTOR CHICAS…………….DARTON

AUSTIN STEWART…………DARTON

DAVID THORNTON………..DARTON

All-Region XVII 2nd team, men:

EAN CRAWFORD……………DARTON

JELANI OMARI………………DARTON

Freddie Shirah……………………….NGT

Codey Brakage………………………NGT

Jose Castanon………………………..SGC

Men’s & Women’s Coach of the Year:

BRUCE SKILES………………DARTON