The Dawson County High School cross country teams competed over the weekend in the Wingfoot Classic at the Atlanta Track Club in Cartersville.
"It was one of the highest quality races we have this year and gave our runners a chance to see some of the best in the state and nation," said Coach Charles Beusse.
The boys' team qualified to race in the championship division of the event. Beusse cited that qualification as an accomplishment in itself.
Senior leader Jacob Poston finished 10th overall with a time of 15:59.
"A top 10 finish in a race of that caliber is a huge accomplishment," Beusse said.
"With such fast teams in the race, many of our boys went out too fast and it came back to bite them in the later stages of the race. That's definitely an area that we need to improve upon going forward, but I'd rather them learn that lesson now rather than at the state meet," he said.
Beusse said that the feel of the race was particularly helpful in that it had an atmosphere similar to that of the state meet. For the younger runners, that is good prep for later in the season.
The girls' team qualified for the varsity division and Beusse was also pleased with their efforts.
Frankie Muldoon took sixth overall and Marley Hamby finished 11th.
"Placing that high in a race of that magnitude is awesome for these girls and should give them confidence moving forward," Beusse said.
Beusse cited breakthrough performances from Alyssa Habermann and Jenna Lecours that helped tighten the gap between them and the number three runner on the team, Bailey Cotter.
"If they can continue to stay close to Bailey, it's going to help us tremendously and should put us back into contention to win region," he said.
Overall Beusse is pleased with the teams and thinks they have time to address areas of weakness before the end of the season.
"There are lots of good teams in AAA this year, but if we stay the course and avoid injuries, I believe that we can have some big performances later on," he said.
The teams will compete again on Oct. 6 at the Unicoi Mountain Invitational in Helen.