As the Dawson County High School cross country team continues to excel locally and at the state level, the fruits of its efforts are now branching out on a national level.
Two former students, Dylan Forester and Jacob Poston, are currently part of Augusta University’s cross country team and traveled to Evansville, Ind. on Nov. 18 to compete in the Division II NCAA National Championships.
The team finished 23rd overall with Forester taking 65th overall in the 10K at 32 minutes, 22.9 seconds. Poston ended at 150th at 33:46.1.
“Both young men are hard working, dedicated and talented. They bring great experience from their time at Dawson County High School under Coach Beusse,” said Augusta University Head Coach Adam Ward.
“Their dedication and work ethic are what has gotten them to this level,” said DCHS cross country coach Charles Beusse. “Coach Ward has done a fantastic job of building on the foundation the boys had when they left high school. To see these guys competing in the NCAA National Championships is very exciting for all of us at DCHS. Such a small amount of runners make it to this level and it's great to see two Dawson runners make it in the same year.”
Despite the caliber of racing and national spotlight, Ward said he felt like Poston, even as a freshman handles the pressure well.
“If anything, I feel like he is hungry to prove he can and will do better at the NCAA meet. Our freshmen this season have raced wisely and maturely, beyond their years,” Ward said.
“It's been awesome having Jacob on the team, I always get joked on bout how Dawsonville is 'the stix’ and how Dawsonville runners got that independent drive as the running community there is almost non-existent (except for the HS XC team),” Forester said. “I feel like he’s more of a younger brother than I am a mentor. I’m definitely there, and ready to help and answer questions, but the kid has gotten college life and running down pretty quickly.”
“Running at the collegiate level is on a whole other level than high school,” Poston said. “The amount of work you have to put in compared to high school is substantially more. You start running double days and almost doubling your mileage just because the length of the race you have to race in college which is the 8 and 10 K.”
Forester is a 2014 graduate and Poston graduated last year from DCHS.
“Dylan has definitely pushed us and motivated us along the way,” Poston said. “It definitely made it easier transitioning knowing that I knew someone here. He also reminds us that we are accountable for our actions and that it’s not high school anymore and that college requires a whole other level of commitment. I’m glad I could be a part of his senior year of cross, as well as helping him make it to nationals his last year.”
Forester has run for eight year, six of those competitively and said that he was more dedicated this season than ever, knowing it would be his last. He is a business management major and is hoping he will hit a professional time to continue running.
“I have accomplished everything I was capable of doing, I had an injury that plagued me during the first half of the season so my goals had to be updated to a more realistic possibility,” Forester said.
“Dylan has been a consistent top runner for us since he was a freshman,” Ward said. “I can always count on him having a good race. Jacob has been in our top five from the start and has given us some much needed depth which we were missing a year ago.”
The Augusta University team was undefeated in its regular season and won a Peach Belt Conference championship before finishing third in the southeast regionals to advance to the national championship race.
“I cannot be more proud of how well our men and women have done this year,” Ward said. “But, the men going undefeated until regionals is exciting and a lot of fun. The seniors are especially excited to close out their careers at the NCAA championships.”