With a lot of questions to be answered, according to Coach Charles Beusse, the Dawson County cross country program competed in its first race on Aug. 29 at Chestatee High School.
Despite the bits of uncertainty, the varsity boys and girls finished third and second in their respective races.
“While we got off to a decent start, we have lots of work to do,” Beusse said about the boys race. “I see this team as one of the best in the state and we need to get that mentality about us.”
Runner Cody Wood finished third overall on the day followed by senior Chris Shelp.
“We had a couple of our varsity runners under the weather and I believe that impacted us somewhat,” Beusse said.
Though there were what Beusse called rookie mistakes on the first outing, he believes the team has the talent to compete for a state championship.
The third place finish was out of 16 teams competing.
On the girls’ side, junior Frankie Muldoon set a course record at 19 minutes 35 seconds beating out White County’s Jaelen Alexander for the top spot.
The girls’ team placed second overall out of the 22 participating with Marley Hamby and Jenna Lecours taking the next two spots for Dawson.
“While we have some extreme talent on the girls’ varsity team, we are relatively young and working to fill the gaps left by graduation and runners who did not return this season,” Beusse said. “In fact, four of our top seven varsity girls yesterday were competing in their first cross country race ever.”
Even with the youth, Beusse said he was pleased with the composure and maturity.
“We made a lot of mistakes and have a lot of work to do, but I believe that with more experience, these girls will greatly improve.”
New runners Abby Cotter, Molly Muenchen, Evian Reinhardt and Mattie Grant completed the varsity squad.
For the boys junior varsity, Raleigh Payne led the team with a solid effort. He was followed by Preston Burt and Jacob Goodwin.
“Raleigh is a team leader and has helped tremendously in leading our younger runners this summer,” Beusse said.
The girls JV had only two competing in Celine Sapp and Bri Ray.
“They both raced strong and gained experience in racing which is so vital to success,” he said.
A total of 73 runners from grades 6-12 traveled to participate.
The middle school program is under the coaching of Jonathan Tinsley who was pleased with the efforts of his teams.
“They all are young runners and they are very coachable,” TInsley said. They are trying and doing everything that I ask them to do. I'm just proud of he they did at a meet that big.”
There were 221 middle school girls racing and 250 boys.
Tinsley said that the teams did well as far as the goals they had established for the race.
“I’m so excited to see how much they grow this season as runners and as a team.”
Next on the schedule is the Double Dip Invitational. Dawson will travel to the Marist School for a 7:50 a.m. start on Sept. 9.