Last week, the Dawson County News streamed its second annual Winter Media day in recognition of the three winter sports played at Dawson County High School.
Here are some of the big takeaways from media day, which featured players and coaches from the swim, wrestling, and boys and girls basketball teams.(Story continues below)
Three Things We Learned
1 - Anglin setting high standards for girls basketball amid tough region
While new girls basketball head coach Will Anglin may be the team’s third head coach in the past four seasons, he has high expectations for a team that is looking to challenge one of Class 3A’s strongest regions.
The roster, returning all but one player from last season, is led by a trio of seniors who Anglin has trusted to help guide the team to success.
"As soon as I got the job I reached out to them and we had a meeting,” Anglin said. “I told them that [the team is] going to go as far as you want us to go. They have embraced that role.”
With the addition of Pickens and Wesleyan to Region 7-3A, the Lady Tigers will be one of many talented squads looking for a state playoff berth. Anglin believes the team is up to the task.
“The expectations that we put on ourselves will always be greater than the expectations that somebody else can put on us,” Anglin said. “I am excited for the community to get to see all the hard work we have put in the last two months.”
2 - Cottrell investing in junior trio to help bring experience to boys basketball
Third-year boys basketball coach Todd Cottrell expressed his belief in a team led by a trio of juniors who will be tasked to lead a youthful squad.
The Tigers will look to their experienced leaders to bounce back and become a force in Region 7-3A again.
“I’m really excited about this year’s team. Leadership from [the three juniors] has been fantastic so far this year,” Cottrell said. “With the growing pains last year, a lot of these guys played significant minutes as sophomores.”
Cottrell also sees this season as one to gradually build up the team’s identity and strengths. With only one senior on this year’s roster, there is plenty of room for growth.
“With these [juniors], they are setting the standard for the next group,” Cottrell said. “Last year was a transition year in a lot of ways. This year, if it translates into wins that’s great, but I really like the direction we’re going in.”
3 - Wrestling team laying foundation for success
Wrestling team head coach Arron Haynes has long been able to maximize the potential of his squads, but this season presents a unique challenge.
While there is quality on the team’s roster, a lack of quantity in weight classes means that points will be hard to come by.
But Haynes expressed confidence in his team’s progress thus far, with the few older wrestlers helping lead several freshmen who moved up to the varsity squad from the two-time defending region championship middle school team.
“This year we have a lot of youth,” Haynes said. “We’ve got some experience down there but they’re just young. We do have a core group of juniors who are going to lead them.”
While Haynes expects the team to learn lessons and face some growing pains, he is also confident that the team will improve through those experiences.
“By the time we get to region, we’re not going to worry about our youth a whole lot,” Haynes said. “We’re just a varsity program and we have to get ready for older people that we’re wrestling.”
Three Things We Heard
1 - Junior swimmer Michelle Castro talked about the swim team’s bright future, pointing out how competitive many of the younger swimmers are both for Dawson County and their club teams.
“Our younger swimmers are really good. I’m really impressed. Maybe I could learn something from them,” Castro said. “[They] just push everyone to become better.”
2 - Senior girls basketball player Calleigh Lamb talked about how Anglin’s energy has helped improve and further bring together an already tightly-knit group of players.
“He is very energetic on and off the court and it really gets us through practice whenever he pushes us and encourages us every day,” Lamb said. “We do lock-in every single day, work hard and try to get better.”
3 - Junior Caden Reed, along with Trey Harvey and Ethan Parker, offered his thoughts for the team’s goals from the perspective of an important vocal leader.
“I’ve always been a pretty vocal guy — not afraid to say something when it needs to be said,” Reed said. “Us three have been in the program since we’ve been freshmen, so now is the time to step up. I think all three of us have shown vocal leadership and leadership by example. That’s what it’s going to take to lead a young team.”