The Dawson County boys’ cross country team is the Region 8-AA runners-up.
The Tigers finished in second place, behind region champion North Oconee, at the 3.1-mile course at Crowe’s Lake. The meet was hosted by Jefferson High School.
The Tigers will compete this Saturday at the state AA meet in Carrollton. The AA race will begin at 2:30 PM.
“The guys did what they should have done,” said Head Coach Brian DeRose.
“Our guys have been solid all year. They followed our race plan exactly like we wanted them to.”
Jon Erickson posted the fastest time for the Tigers. Erickson covered the course in a time of 18:23.56. His time was good for a 10th place finish.
Following Erickson on the Dawson County team were Preston Adams (14th), Tyler Thurmond (21st), Chris Bywaletz (22nd), Luke Williamson (38th), Sam Wentworth (40th) and Zach Yarborough (50th).
The race plan was to run four Tiger runners together in front of three opposing runners to kind of block them. It worked for about one and a half miles before the other runners kind of got away.
“I though Jon Erickson ran a really good race,” DeRose said. “Tyler Thurmond didn’t have his best race, but he kept it together to take third on our team. That was huge for us. Preston Adams and Chris Bywaletz ran a strong race and I thought Luke Williamson had a good day.”
Winning the individual title was Tripp Hurt from North Oconee with a time of 17:35.03.
Hurt was followed in second place by Ethan Alexander of Elbert County with a time of 17:37.67.
At state the boys will have to contend with individual favorite Parker Whitlock of Lovett. Whitlock has run a personal best of 15:44.63 and is the top rated runner in AA.
North Oconee won the region title with 61 points followed by Dawson with 105, Union County totaled 118 and Elbert County finished fourth with 123 points. All four teams will contend for the state title this weekend
“Our top seven runners haven’t changed much during the year. They have been improving and we can know who our top six point getters will be,” DeRose said.
“I expect our guys to get a top four finish this Saturday,” DeRose said.
The boys’ team is currently ranked #4 in the state in AA. The ranking is the highest in the classification for a public school.
Dawson trails favorites Westminster, Lovett and Blessed Trinity.
Despite winning the Region 8-AA crown, North Oconee is ranked #5, a place behind the Tigers.