Over the weekend, the Dawson County High School varsity cross country teams participated in the gold race of the Coach Wood Invitational at the University of North Georgia Oakwood campus.
The boys team placed second out of 20 teams competing, including two top five programs in Class AAA—North Hall and Lovett.
“Both of those teams are very talented and I was proud of the way our boys held up against them, defeating North Hall by 99 points and Lovett by 216 points,” said Coach Charles Beusse.
The Tigers were only edged out by Collins Hill, a 7A program.
“Our strongest point right now with the boys team is tight grouping,” Beusse said. “We don’t necessarily have a front runner who is winning races, but we have the ability to put all of our boys into a scoring position within a tight 45-60 second window which is huge.”
On Oct. 14, Cody Wood led for the boys and was followed closely again by Chris Shelp and Ben McGinnis.
“One of the best races of the day came from Nathan Blythe who continues to improve and close the gap on our top three runners. This is huge for us and could help us tremendously during the upcoming championship races,” Beusse said.
Beusse said he was also pleased with Wiley Dennis who finished in fifth for the Dawson program.
Nico Poston was suffering from sinus trouble and finished behind Dennis.
Beusse said he thinks that it will be a close battle with Westminster for a state title.
“It’s shaping up to be a battle and we are excited to be in this position and be state contenders,” he said. “The state race is always exciting and you never know what will happen until race day.”
On the girls’ side, Dawson County finished 15 out of 19 programs with Frankie Muldoon finishing third out of 169 runners.
Jenna Lecours followed up Muldoon for the Lady Tigers finishing 35th overall.
Marley Hamby finished the entire race with only one shoe.
According to Beusse, she was stepped on at the start and lost her shoe.
“Still, she ran the entire 5K with only one shoe and did very well under the strange circumstances,” he said.
Molly Muenchen also had what Beusse called a strong race and said that she is “coming into form just when we need her.”
Rounding out the top five was Abby Cotter.
“This is a very young girls’ team but I look for them to compete well at region in a couple of weeks,” Beusse said. “In a year or two, this team can be one of the strongest in the state.”
Beusse said he was also pleased with the efforts at the junior varsity level.
The teams are now preparing for the region meet which will take place on Oct. 26 at Unicoi State Park in Helen.