The cross country teams at Dawson County High School are coming off of strong finishes last week at Buford as they head into tomorrow's region race at Unicoi State Park.
Coach Charles Beusse has been pleased with this season's efforts and thinks the boys and girls programs are ready to defend their 7-AAA region titles behind the leadership of individual title holders Jacob Poston and Frankie Muldoon.
"I believe that we are turning a corner in terms of fitness and should look sharp at region," he said.
The boys' team took first place overall on Oct. 18 at Buford and the girls' team took second place overall.
Senior runner Poston once again led the boys' team with a first place finish.
Poston's win was the fastest time ever recorded at the Buford course, displacing the previous record holder who was also a Dawson runner, Dylan Forrester.
"One of the most impressive parts about Jacob's win was the fact that we actually held him back a little and had him run the first 1.5 miles at tempo pace before allowing him to race his normal pace," said Coach Charles Beusse. "It was a good effort but still left some in the tank for him at region next week and should set him up well for a good performance there.
Junior runner Chris Shelp had a great showing with a second place overall finish.
The scoring in the varsity race was finished out by Nathan Blythe, Cody Wood and Ben McGinnis.
The Tigers were also able to take the top spot in the junior varsity race behind Patrick Moody who won that race. Moody, who has just gotten back to racing coming off of an injury, has really stepped up according to Beusse.
Jerman Lopez was third overall in the JV race.
The varsity girls' were able to finish second, despite illness taking its toll on the team.
"We only ran a girls' varsity team yesterday and had to pull some of our normal JV runners up on varsity," Beusse said.
Muldoon once again finished in first place.
"She is looking like she is in top form and ready to defend her title as region champion next week," Beusse said.
Marley Hamby took the fourth spot.
Beusse believes that the teams are ready to face the challenges at tomorrow's 7-AAA region championship.
"We will be in a tight battle with North Hall...and I honestly believe that it may come down to which team wants it more," Beusse said. "Our runners are very motivated right now and want to defend their region titles."
"From what I see right now, they are in a position to do it if we can get a best effort performance out of every one of our runners."
The races will begin at 2:15 p.m. tomorrow at Unicoi State Park in Helen.