Final Region 7-AAA Results:
Finish Team Points
1 Banks County 40
2 West Hall 53
3 Dawson County 63
4 Lumpkin County 109
5 East Hall 133
6 Fannin County 163
7 Franklin County 171
The Dawson County High School varsity boys cross country team finished in third place at the Region 7-AAA meet at Banks County High School last week and is headed to the Class AAA state meet Saturday in Carrollton.
"We faced a couple of very good teams with Banks County and West Hall. Still, we decided to take a gamble and make an effort to stick with the lead pack from the start just to see what would happen," said Head Coach Charles Beusse.
Beusse's strategy worked. From the start the Tigers went out strong, but were slightly behind the lead pack after mile one.
The rolling hills of the 3.1-mile course took a toll on a couple of Dawson County runners and they faded in the field, but Jacob Poston and Chris Shelp held strong, sitting in the top 10.
Tiger senior Brandon Barker made an effort at the midpoint of the race to rally his teammates for one more charge at the front. Freshman Tiger Owen Jordan went with Barker into the top five runners.
Both runners were followed closely by Ethan Clark.
In the final mile of the race, Poston broke into the top five and began his move toward the front, as did Shelp.
At the finish, all of Dawson's runners had moved into the top 20, earning the team valuable points.
"I couldn't be more proud of these guys," Beusse said. " They are a very young and relatively inexperienced group who stuck out their neck and held tough with much older guys from other schools."
Beusse said the potential he sees in the young group is encouraging.
"The potential this group has is amazing. For their age, they act mature in races and generally make smart decisions as the race unfolds. Brandon (Barker) has aided greatly in helping our boys team be accountable and teaching them how to race this season," he said.
Dawson County amassed 63 points, good enough for the third place finish. Winning the team title was Banks County with 40 points. Runner-up went to West Hall with 53 points.
Leading the Tigers was Poston with a third place individual finish and a time of 18:36.
Following Poston were: Shelp-ninth place (19:11), Jordan-16th (19:45), Barker-17th (19:46) and Clark-18th (20:05).
Also running for Dawson County were Garrett Carlisle and Ben Umberger.
Winning the region individual title was Jose Diaz from Banks County with a time of 17:59.