The Dawson County High School cross country teams traveled to Cartersville over the weekend to compete in the Wingfoot Classic where the boys’ program out ran their top competition in Class AAA—Westminster.
The race is one of the most competitive in the country and includes nationally ranked teams, according to Coach Charles Beusse.
“Our boys’ varsity team was selected to run in the Varsity Championship Race,” Beusse said. “Being selected to race in this division is very difficult and recognizes the teams who are among the best in the state for all classifications. More than anything, it gave us a chance to see a level of competition that we typically wouldn’t.
From AAA, only DCHS and Westminster were invited to participate.
“To give you an idea of how good the field in this race was, the second and third fastest times in the country this year were run this race,” Beusse said.
The Tigers took 20th out of 30 teams, but were able to get the win over Westminster behind the running of Cody Wood who finished at 16 minutes, 34 seconds.
Ben McGinnis and Chris Shelp were next for Dawson at 16:47 and 16:52 respectively. The four and five finishers for the Tigers were Nathan Blythe at 17:49 and Wiley Dennis at 18:04.
“The team average of 17:14 was the fastest ever by a team at DCHS,” Beusse said. \
Heading into the race, the Westminster program was No. 1 in AAA and Dawson was No. 2.
“It is a long time until state, but things are shaping up to be an exciting race between us and them in November,” Beusse said.
On the girls’ side, the varsity program also had a strong showing—finishing 10th out of the 34 teams competing in the varsity division.
Frankie Muldoon again led the girls as she completed the run seventh out of 254 competitors.
Marley Hamby was 25th overall.
“Marley had a very strong race and ran better than I have seen all year,” Beusse said. “She’s coming into form and looks ready for region and state.”
Beusse said that the team needs to close the gap between the front runners and the number four and five runners to have a strong team for state.
Beusse was also pleased with he performances from runners at the JV level in the weekend race.
“Luke Hamby had an excellent race and set a big personal record,” Beusse said. “Also running well were Austin Lawson, Preston Burt, Raleigh Payne and Jacob Goodwin.”
The teams will run again on Oct. 6 at the Unicoi Mountain Inviational in Helen.