The Dawson County High School varsity boys cross country team is headed to the State Class AAA meet Saturday in Carrollton.
Behind the second place finish of senior Dylan Forester, the Tigers picked up a third place team finish that will send them to the state meet. Forester crossed the finish line with a time of 15:56, just a half second behind Region 7-AAA winner Quintin Miles from North Hall.
The Tigers totaled 100 team points, just behind Region 7-AAA winner North Hall (20 points) and second place finisher Buford with 72 points.
Rounding out the region were fourth place finisher White County (116), fifth place West Hall (140), Banks County (142), Fannin County (171) and East Hall (233) completed the region finishers.
Coach Charles Beusse also had strong races, over a very hilly course at Unicoi State Park in Helen, from Avery Cowart (17:42), Bryan Colin (18:26), Brandon Barker (18:32), Mason Carr (18:54), Armando Jimenez (18:57) and Ben Umberger (19:10).
"I was really proud of our boys team on Thursday," Beusse said. "I think that if kids stay committed and we stick to the principals of training we've used this year, there's no reason why we can't develop one of the best programs in north Georgia. That's the vision I have for this team and if the kids will step up to the challenge, I believe we can get there. It all depends on the commitment of our runners and how much they want it."
The Tigers have an uphill battle at the State meet. St. Pius X is the team to beat as they won the state championship last season.
St. Pius features two of the top three runners in Austin Sprague (15:01) and Joseph Ferrugia (15:26). Spargue captured the State championship last season with a time of 16:26. Ferrugia finished in third place.
Dawson County's Forester is currently ranked No. 9 in Class AAA.
Last season the Tigers finished in 13th place at the state meet.
"I was extremely proud of some of the things I saw at region. I thought that the boys' team stepped up to the challenge and gave us all they had," Beusse said.
The boys will race at 7:45 a.m. Saturday at Carrollton High School.