Unlike the varsity rosters for almost all other Dawson County High School sports, the team roster for the cross country team is determined with a time trial prior to every race. This means that the team can be different for each race, although this rarely happens.
“Usually, your varsity team is made up of the top seven runners,” Head Coach Charles Beusse said as he explained how the team would be built for the upcoming competition at Chestatee High School on Aug. 28. “For some reason it is the top 10 runners for this event.”
Beusse went on to explain that the scoring in cross country is “much like golf” in that the lower the score, the better.
“Obviously a fast time is important, but if you come in first you get one point,” Beusse said. “If you finish in second you get two, third three and so on. Adding up all the finishes for the team gives a total, and the lowest score wins the event.”
Featuring a good number of returning runners the 2018 boys’ team will be led by a trio of returning seniors “that understand what it takes to compete at a championship level,” according to Beusee.
“I know that a lot of people are going to look to us,” senior runner Will Mulberry said in response to being asked about his leadership role on the team.
“It will be nice to pass on our experience,” fellow senior Nico Poston said in agreement.
The boys’ team comes into this season after a second-place finish at the state level in 2017, and that close loss is still on the minds of the team as 2018 gets underway.
“There’s some pretty good competition out there,” Cody Wood, the third member of the leadership trio, said. “We just have to give ourselves the chance to win.”
On the girls’ side of the track Beusse acknowledged that losing Marley Hamby to graduation did have an impact on the team, but he was optimistic about their season.
“I believe our girls are capable of winning region and finishing on the podium at state,” Beusse said. “It will take a lot to get there, but we aren’t afraid of hard work.”
Key to getting there is returning senior Frankie Muldoon. Muldoon will be defending her three-time individual regional champion status during the season and knows that there was a lot resting on her shoulders as the season is set to begin.
“I definitely feel like I have more authority with my teammates,” Muldoon said. “But I am not the loudest person. I prefer to lead by example.”
With the personal goals of winning her fourth individual title and breaking the state record in the process, the example she sets during the season will be a tough one to follow.
“Overall, I'm very pleased with the potential I see on both the boys’ and girls’ teams.” Beusse said. “I've seen some solid improvement with our entire team over the past few weeks and believe the foundation is there for another great season.”