After winning the 7-3A region last week, the Dawson County Tigers cross country boys’ team finished second in the 2020 GHSA State Championship at Carrollton High School on Nov. 6.
Prior to the race’s finish, the Tigers were ranked third in the state, behind Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Georgia and Westminster School in Atlanta. Westminster won the state championship but the Tigers finished ahead of Oconee County
“I'm excited,” Dawson County Cross Country Coach Charles Beusse said after the race. “We knew we needed a really good race from everybody to finish in second place. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody. Everyone that raced had a really good race.”
This second-place finish is one of the best in Dawson County High School’s history for boys or girls cross country. They were also the runner-up to the Westminster School in 2017.
“They had a lot to overcome, considering the challenges we’ve had with the covid restrictions and meets being cancelled,” Beusse said.
Five racers from Dawson County’s boys team finished in the state’s top 31 for 3-A. Luke Hamby led the runners, finishing 13th place overall with a final time of 17:23. Sam Hulsey ran right behind at 17:26, Wiley Dennis at 17:32, Ethan Smith at 17:59 and Brendan Swafford at 18:12.
“It feels pretty good,” Hamby said after the race. “We put in the work and these are the results we get from it”
Hamby and Dennis both ran on the 2017 team that finished second in the state. Hamby, Dennis and Smith were all named to the All-Region team after the race last week.
Ryan McGinnis and Chase Cofield ran in 6th and 7th for the Tigers and were key pieces on securing the second-place finish for the Tigers.
“They really stepped up today,” Beusse said. “They got the job done.”
The team joked after the awards ceremony that they were the 3-A public school state championship since the Westminster School is a private school.
“They’re not wrong,” Beusse said.
But the boys’ cross country season is not done yet. Next week, they will run a race in Fayetteville with high school runners from all across the country to determine who the best-of-the-best is. However, the race is not associated with the school.
“I think we started not where we wanted to be, but we ended up pulling it out right at the end of the season,” Hulsey said. “Can’t wait to celebrate with some grape juice out of the trophy cup.”