The Dawson County High School cross country team accomplished another first last week when the boys finished fourth place in state and made it onto the podium at the state competition.
The Tigers just finished the season with their second Region 7-AAA championship in two years.
"In state, the top four teams make it to the podium," said Head Coach Charles Beusse. "Finishing fourth was a really big step for our boys program because it's the first time a DCHS boys' team has made the podium.
"Getting a guys' team on the podium was a very big deal for us, especially against the tough AAA competition in the state this year."
The team finished first in the region behind senior runner Jacob Poston. Poston finished in second place in state behind East Jackson's Chase Kennedy. Poston completed the course in 16 minutes and 43 seconds.
"Going into the race, we had a game plan for Jacob to have a shot at beating Chase, but in the end Chase proved to be too much for us," Beusse said.
Poston's finish was the best individual performance of any DCHS runner at the state met.
Beusse said that all of the runners had great races at the state meet.
"Chris Shelp and Cody Wood both had strong races today with Chris finishing in the top 20 in the state, a tough task given the competition," Beusse said. "Cody followed closely behind him as did Ben McGinnis, Nathan Blythe, Nico Poston and Ethan Cowart."
Freshman McGinnis, had what Beusse called his best race of the season and contributed valuable points.
The team as a whole set many goals for themselves and worked throughout the season to achieve them Beusse said.
"Seeing athletes achieve their goals is one of the highlights of being able to coach and I'll never forget the happiness the boys showed today," he said.
The success of this season is only the beginning, according to Beusse, as his young team loses only one runner to graduation.
"Of our top five runners, we only lose Jacob Poston this year. As these younger runners continue to mature and improve, I believe they can compete for a state title in the future," he said.
As the boys' team was one of the top 20 teams in the state for all classifications, the team has been invited to compete in the Cross Country Meet of Champions this weekend. It is a USA track and field event, not a GHSA event, and the team will run as a "club team."
The team will run at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 12 in Fayetteville.