The varsity boys cross country team for Dawson County High School had its best finish ever when it took second place at the Class AAA state race in Carrollton last weekend.
“The boys’ team came away yesterday as state runners up, the best finish every by a cross country team at DCHS,” said Coach Charles Beusse. “Those boys are a special group. They are much more than a team, they are a family.”
The team took second behind Westminster on Nov. 4.
“Going into the race, we felt like it would come down to us and Westminster and that's exactly what happened,” Beusse said. “While we would have loved to capture the championship, Westminster showed up strong and were the better team on Saturday. Still, our boys put up a fight against them and raced as hard as I have ever seen them run.
“I would have loved to have left with a win, but seeing how hard those boys pushed themselves and how hard they raced for each other was one of the proudest moments I have ever had as a coach. All of Dawson County should be proud of how well these guys represented our community.”
Beusse said that in his fifth season of coaching the program, he had not seen a team like this one.
“So much of their success this season has come simply from the love they have for each other,” he said. “They refer to each other as brothers and that’s exactly what they have become.”
Cody Wood finished eighth overall for the boys with a time of 17 minutes, 18 seconds. He earned all-state honors.
Next for Dawson County was Chris Shelp at 17:29 followed closely by Ben McGinnis (17:43), Nathan Blythe (17:52) and Wiley Dennis (17:59).
That means that Dawson County had five runners in the top 20 at the state meet and according to Beusse that is a rare feat.
“Furthermore, our team average was in the top 10 for all classifications at the state meet this year. That shows just how good this team is,” he said.
The success throughout the season has come from the tight-knit group who also run in tight groupings that in turn result in top team finishes.
The success is also garnering recognition.
“The whole state took notice of this and many coaches and even the Westminster team were coming up to our boys to hug them and tell them how well they did,” Beusse said. “Cross country is one of the toughest sports out there and other coaches and teams recognize when they see a hard fought performance. It's a great community to be a part of.”
Though the Nov. 4 race marked the end of Shelp’s and Blythe’s tenure at DCHS, the team will return five out of the top seven for next year.