The Dawson County varsity cross country teams once again finished in the top five during last week’s race, the Unicoi Mountain Invitational.
The boys team took third out of 35 teams competing and the girls team was fifth during the Oct. 5 event.
“In the boys’ varsity race, I really liked what I saw from our guys,” said Coach Charles Beusse. “The boys are currently ranked No. 1 in AAA and they looked the part yesterday.”
Cody Wood led the boys team again as he took 18th place at 16 minutes and 50 seconds.
Chris Shelp and Ben McGinnis were 20th and 21st both at 16:56.
“While those boys made for a strong top three, the most pleasant surprise of the day came from our fourth and fifth runners, Nathan Blythe and Nico Poston who ran 17:26 and 17:34,” Beusse said. “All year, we have desperately needed those guys in the 4-7 spots to step and they certainly turned a corner at Unicoi.”
Wiley Dennis and Will Mulberry finished at 17:50 and 18:31.
“Winning titles at both region and state are real possibilities, but it is going to require all of our guys to continue to improve this month and have their best races of the season at the end of the season,” Beusse said.
North Oconee and Gainesville were the only teams at Unicoi to finish ahead of Dawson.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Tigers were led by Frankie Muldoon who set a personal record and finished third overall at 18:49.
It is the second fastest time ever run by a Dawson female runner.
“In reviewing the girls race, I believe we are capable of becoming a podium level team,” Beusse said. “However, we still need to see improvement over this last month of training.”
Behind Muldoon were Jenna Lecours at 21:18, Marley Hamby at 21:28, Molly Muenchen at 22:54 and Abby Cotter at 23:27.
“Molly and Abby continue to improve, but we still need to close the gap down between our 1-5,” Beusse said. “I have faith in all of these girls. They are driven and understand the task at hand.”
Beusse said that the competition from North Hall and Union during the Unicoi race could provide the motivation needed in the last month of training.
The junior varsity boys’ team had a 15th place finish out of the 28 teams competing.
Luke Hamby finished at 19:20 and Beusse also saw improvement from Prestan Burt, Jacob Goodwin and Jacob Regnier who all set personal best times.
On the girls’ side, Bri Ray and Matti Grant ran well setting season best times.
The next race for Dawson County is at 8 a.m. on Oct. 14 in the Coach Wood Invitational in Oakwood.