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CROSS COUNTRY: Both Dawson teams found their stride with victories at Gilmer race
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The boys and girls cross country teams pose with their first-place trophies after winning the race held at Clear Creek Middle School. - photo by Rio White

Head coach Jonathan Tinsley is seeing his Dawson County cross country team hit its mid-season form, with both the boys and girls sides finishing in first place at a Gilmer County race held at Clear Creek Middle School on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Despite having talented freshmen Hayden Hand and Harper Dussouy out with slight injuries, the girls team out-performed the other five competing teams with a trio of top-5 finishes.

“I can’t say enough about how hard the girls are working,” Tinsley said. “For [them] to go up there without two of our top five girls and see them perform like that was amazing.”

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Junior Anna LeCave led the way for the girls, finishing second overall with a time of 23:15. She was closely followed up by fellow junior Jules Phillips who finished third overall just 10 seconds behind LeCave. 

Freshman Addison Smith finished fifth overall to round out the top finishers for Dawson. Both of the juniors have been leaders of a relatively young group that is proving to be a force in Region 7-3A.

Tinsley also credited some of the other runners further back for helping close the gap on other teams to help give Dawson the best overall score.

These runners included Katie Gloeckner, Daisy Sanchez and Briana Escoto, with all three finishing in the top half of 49 runners. Sanchez picked up crucial points at the finish line by passing a pair of runners from Union County, the second-placed team. 

The boys team continued their pattern of keeping a tight pack of runners together throughout the race, with a total of six runners finishing in the top 10.

Junior Tyler Tangel led the way by finishing third overall while Luke Lowe finished fifth. Bailey Swafford, Emory Lail, Cael Hand and Aaric Muilenberg rounded out the top 10 finishers to give Dawson a close victory over Lumpkin County. 

“The boys push and encourage each other. They compete with each other daily but are such a close group,” Tinsley said. “They know that each week and each race they have to show up against other teams as well as against their teammates.”

The overall performance is a positive sign for Tinsley as the season heads into its final four races before the region championship. 

Next up, the Tigers will travel to Cherokee High School to run in the Warpath Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 17.

“This is a special group of athletes that are a lot of fun to coach,” Tinsley said. “I can’t say enough about the work they put in each and every day.”