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Cross country teams excel
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Dawson County High School cross country teams competed in a very large field Oct. 4 at the Runners Fit Mountain Invitational held at Unicoi State Park.


The high school girls’ teams featured several state ranked teams: Buford (#5 AA), Chestatee (#8 AAA), Lambert (#10 AAAA), North Hall (#1 AAA) and West Hall (#4 AAA).


On the boys side Dawson County (#9 AA), North Hall (#3 AAA), Oconee County (#7 AAA) and West Hall (#5 AAA) all competed.


The 3.1 mile course was considered to be very fast due to the great weather that produced fast times. The first mile was flat, shortly into mile two began the “Mountain” trail section, at the peak the trail looped back around with a half-mile downhill and retraced itself to make the third mile into the 300-meter straightaway finish.


Both of Head Coach Brian DeRose’s varsity teams fared very well in the event.


Lady Tiger Madalyn Walters picked up a second place finish with a time of 20:19. Walters finished just behind winner, Victoria Rogers of North Hall, who posted a time of 20:09. More than 100 runners competed in the varsity girls race.


The Lady Tigers finished in sixth place in the team competition. North Hall captured first place after its runners came in first, fifth and ninth places.


Running for Dawson County High School were Emma Salmena (31st), Morgan Williams (46th), Rachael Gloeckner (48th), Allie Costely (55th), Summer Lewis and Bethany Auten.


The Tiger boys also picked up a sixth place finish in the team competition out of 21 varsity teams.


Dawson was led by Tyler Thurmond with an 18th place finish and a time of 18:04. There were 141 runners in the boys’ varsity race.


Cody Barger of North Hall crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 16:17. North Hall also captured the team title with individual runners coming in first, third and fourth.


Also running sub-19 minute races for the Tigers were Jon Erickson (18:06), Chris Bywaletz (18:21) and Preston Adams (18:52). They placed 21st, 27th and 41st respectively.


Rounding out the Tiger varsity runners were Sam Wentworth, Zach Yarbourgh and Jake Hafermalz. On Sept. 29 the team played host to North Forsyth and Forsyth Central.


It was an enormous field with North bringing over 60 runners, Central around 30 runners and the Tigers added another 40 runners. North Forsyth captured first in both the boys and girls 3.1-mile race. Dawson finished second in both races.


Luke Williamson came in fifth place for the Tigers. John Sanderson followed in 14th place. Also placing for Dawson County High School were Harris Day, Jacob Miller, Levi Pressley and John Branson.On the girls’ side, Bethany Auten led the Tigers with a fifth place finish. Auten was followed by Summer Lewis, Savannah Estes, Morgan Gaddis and Christine Schmid.


“Both our teams ran really well despite some of the course conditions. It was really tough meet. Both teams are on track for their respective season goals,” DeRose said.