MOULTRIE — Darton College cross country coach David Mann was at a high school meet at Robert Cross Middle School in Albany last fall when he noticed a Colquitt County runner leading the pack.

“I thought, ‘Who is that kid?’” Mann said on Friday after he signed “that kid,” Heath Lamb, to run for his team next season.

Lamb was joined by his mother, father, two sisters and his high school cross country and track coaches as he signed his letter of intent at the Colquitt County High library.

Packers cross country coach Mell Wier will lose his top runner, although track coach Dextra Polite has Lamb to run the 800 and the mile one more season.

They will turn over one of Southwest Georgia’s top runners to Mann and Darton College, which won the state junior college championship in both men and women last season in just third year of the program’s existence.

And Mann expects Lamb to contribute right away.

“I’ve been scouting him for several months and I think he’s one who can be in our top five,” Mann said. “He’ll have an impact immediately.”

Lamb spent last summer running with the Albany’s Ruff Riders Track Club and was part of the 4x800 relay team that won Region 3 championship in Lanover, Md., and the extra work paid off in cross country season.

He finished third in the Region 1-AAAAA meet in Macon, turning in a time of 17:21, and was the only Colquitt County runner to qualify for the Class AAAAA state meet.

Wier was pleased with his senior’s performance at the state meet, where Lamb was 99th with a time of 17:35, despite a poor starting box.

Wier said Lamb’s finish was the best by a Colquitt County runner since the meet was moved to Carrollton.

During the season, Lamb won three races and was selected the Region 1-AAAAA runner of the week.

In December, Lamb was named to Georgia’s South of the Border team, which featured the top cross country runners in the area south of Macon.

Lamb said he was impressed with the school and its cross country program when he took a recent visit.

“It was perfect,” he said.

Wier said Lamb is headed to school with a strong cross country team.

“They are the best JUCO program in the state right now,” Wier said.

The Darton cross country teams not only won the two region champion titles, they also had an individual champion and runner-up title, two region coach of the year titles, seven All-Region first team honors and five All-Region second team honors.

Mann was named the Coach of the Year.

The Darton men’s team had been third in the region the previous two years.

Lamb said he hopes to run two years for the Cavaliers and then transfer to a four-year school.

Saying he “loves to race people,” Lamb said wants to continue working on his form the next two years in Albany.

“It’s all about technique,” he said. “I just want to be able to run faster.”

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