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2021 SEASON OUTLOOK: Dawson County Cross Country
CROSS COUNTRY 1 11.06.2020
The 2020 Tigers cross country team poses for a photo after taking second at the GHSA state championship race in Carrollton, Georgia. - photo by Jacob Smith

Dawson County Tigers Cross Country 

Head coach: Jonathan Tinsley, first season 

Boys finish last year: First place finish in Region 7-3A, Second place finish in state 

Girls finish last year: Fourth place finish in Region 7-3A

Key returners: Izzy Knight (So.), Anna LeCave (So.), Jules Phillips (So.) and  Ethan Smith (Sr.)

Key newcomers: Bella Hunt (Fr.), Bailey Swafford (Fr.) Tyler Tangel (So.) and Owen Walls (So.) 

Last season, the Dawson County Tigers boys cross country team tied their best finish of all-time with a second place finish at the GHSA 3A state meet, finishing behind only the Westminsters School in Atlanta. 

All five of the Tigers runners who were scored finished in the top 31 runners at the meet. The Tigers graduate four of those five runners, with only rising senior Ethan Smith returning. The girls’ team was composed of mainly freshmen, but still qualified for the state meet. The girls return everyone except for Annie Gloeckner. 

Now, the Tigers will have to start the transition away from their longtime head coach Charles Beusse onto the longtime middle school head coach Jonathan Tinsley after Beusse decided to step away from the sport. Tinsley said he does not expect anything but a role reversal, wanting to keep Beusse around as a “director of operations,” whether he wants to or not. 

“He’s a fantastic coach and we’re going to continue to pick his brain,” Tinsley said. “We’ve got a great program that he’s built here and we’re going to keep going on from that.” 

Tinsley has worked with the varsity program as an assistant for the last several years and plans on continuing what Beusse and the rest of the coaching staff has built Tigers cross country into. 

The boys team will experience a big turnover, but TInsley said that he thinks the roster “is not rebuilding, but reloading.” Tinsley expected Devin Knight, Ryan McGinnis, Tyler Tangel, Chase Cofield, Bailey Swafford and Owen Walls to be key contributors and fill the roles of those who have graduated. 

On the girls side, they have an excited runner in Bella Hunt joining the team in her freshman season this year. 

“She’s a strong runner,” Tinsley said. “She comes and works really hard and I think she meshes really well with this group. I don’t want to jinx her or anything, but she’ll get out in front and do her thing.” 

The Tigers will look to get both teams back into the state championship meet when the season kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 21 in Pickens.