It was the coldest state cross country meet in recent history. Not only was weather a factor, but a tough 3.1-mile course at Carrollton High School made getting a good time pretty hard to come by.
The Dawson County boys’ team found a way to overcome the obstacles and take sixth place overall in the state AA championships. The team tallied 221 points.
Once again the private schools dominated the event and took three out of the top four places.
Westminster captured the team title with 45 points. They were followed by Lovett (77), Cross Keys (125), Blessed Trinity (145), North Oconee (146) then Dawson.
Rounding out the top 10 were Rockmart, Pike County, Tattnall County and Bleckley County.
“This was our best finish in recent history,” said Head Coach Brian DeRose. “I think one year we came in eighth.”
The top four runners for the Tigers set new personal records.
Leading the Tigers was Tyler Thurmond.
Thurmond crossed the finish line in 27th place out of 213 runners from across Georgia. Thurmond completed the race with a time of 17:56.67.
Jon Erickson finished in 29th place just behind Thurmond with a time of 17:59.47.
It was also a personal record for Erickson.
“They both ran the fastest they had ever run. They did as good as they could have,” DeRose said.
“Even if our top three runners were 10 to 15 seconds faster, it still wouldn’t have made a difference in team points,” DeRose added.
Chris Bywaletz and Preston Adams completed the course in 55th and 56th place respectively. Bywaletz’s time was 18:45.03, while Adams set a time of 18:47.07, both are personal records for the two runners.
Sam Wentworth (19:22.76), Zach Yarborough (19:47.44) and Luke Williamson (20:11.56) also ran for the Tigers on Saturday.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better showing at state. Our top four runners set a PR and that’s pretty good. We will lose seniors Luke Williamson and Zach Yarborough to graduation. Both Zach and Luke will be missed,” DeRose said.
“We will have our top four runners back next year. If we stay away from injuries we could place higher next season,” he added.