The Dawson County Lady Tigers cross-country team showed that they run Region 7-AAA when they were crowned Region Champions at the Region Meet held at Banks County High School on Tuesday, October 28.
The first place finish at the Region Meet qualified the team for the State Meet in Carrollton on Saturday, November 8.
The girls were helped by their tight grouping during the race. Down the stretch, a sea of maroon and gold grouped together and crossed the finish line one after the other.
All season grouping has been key for us, said DCHSs head cross-country coach Charles Beusse. Going into the Region Meet, we knew we had a tough task ahead of us if we wanted to beat Banks County. Last time we met at Unicoi, their girls beat us. We knew that from racing them for the title on their home course would be even more of a challenge. However, we had a few weeks to plan specifically for this meet and come up with a clear game plan going into it. Part of that plan was to have tight grouping.
Marly Hamby led the Lady Tigers with a third place overall finish with a time of 23:02.90, automatically securing her a spot in the State Meet. Hamby was followed by a strong performance by Bailey Cotter, who had been sidelined for most of the season with injury. Cotter finished seventh place overall with a time of 24:21.70. Cassidy Lecours (24:26.70), Ansley Costley (24:45.40) and Faith Sinclair (24:48.60) rounded out the top five runners for Dawson. Lecours, Costley and Sinclair placed eighth, ninth and 10th overall in the race. The Lady Tigers runners accounted for five of the top 10 runners at the Region Meet.
The Tigers ran their way to a third place team finish and a State Meet berth. The Tigers were led by Jacob Poston, who has been the top Dawson runner throughout the season. Poston finished third overall with a time of 18:35.60.
Poston, a sophomore and first year runner, took all region honors with his third place finish, said Beusse. As he develops, we should see some big things from him.
Chris Shelp finished in ninth place overall with a time of 19:10.70, giving the Tigers two runners in the top 10.
Jordan Owen (19:45), Brandon Barker (19:46) and Ethan Clark (20:04.30) rounded out the top five runners for the Tigers, helping to secure the third place team finish and a spot for the team at the State Meet.
I was pleased with the boys performance, Beusse said. I thought we might have a shot at second place, but West Hall brought a strong team. They fought hard and never gave up during the race which made me proud. We made it to State which is huge and has been our goal all season.
Beusse, who had his doubts about how his team of four first year runners and three freshmen would perform this year, is thrilled at their success.
To say that theres solid potential there is an understatement, Beusse said.
The strong performances by the teams has Beusse excited about the upcoming State Meet.
To advance past region is a big deal for any program and the runners are ready for the challenge, Beusse said. We had fun and celebrated a little in the day that followed region, but now its time to put that behind us and focus on State. I feel like both teams have set themselves up to be successful at state. Certainly there will be some great competition, but that is motivation for our runners. If the runners show up ready to fight, I believe that both teams are capable of some great finishes at State.
In only his second year at the helm of the teams, Beusse is happy to have had a hand in the success of the program.
Its very exciting as a coach to have a team win a region title, Beusse said. To know that I have been fortunate to have a hand in that is simply amazing. My first two years as a head coach have been a dream come true for me and Im very pleased to have had some success. Ive had some great coaches and professionals in the sport who have poured into me and shared their knowledge of cross-country and I hope I can pass that along to the runners at Dawson County High School.
The Tigers and Lady Tigers cross-country teams will lace up their sneakers and run like the wind one more time this season when they travel to Carrollton for the State Meet on Saturday, November 8.