During the Georgia High School Association’s “dead-week” each year the offices are closed and there are no GHSA sanctioned events, to include practices, allowed during the week. It is unofficially recognized as the halfway mark of the high school offseason and this year it takes place from June 30 – July 6.
With “dead-week” fast approaching it is the perfect opportunity to update the status of Dawson County’s fall sports program as the teams range from just beginning practice to finalizing rosters and participating in local tournaments.
Head Coach Tanya Porter hosted a one-day, exchange student tryout on June 3 and added three more Lady Tigers to her 2019 roster. The additions finalized a multi-week selection process that started with a skills camp at the end of May.
Built around a core of three returning seniors, Marlie Townley, Chloe Bennett and Harmony Evans the team will officially begin practice on July 8 and attend the first skills camp the following week as the begin to build on last’s years run into the GHSA State Playoffs.
“We are very excited about this team we have selected,” Porter said.
Dawson County softball took to the practice fields last week for the first time in 2019 as they look to rebuild a team that lost six seniors to graduation to include starting pitcher Maggie Schandera, half the infield, and two of the team’s three outfielders.
Head Coach Jimmy Pruett acknowledged the difficulty the team faces heading into fall but has confident in his returning seniors and the system in place through the middle school and junior varsity programs.
“We have a lot of talented girls on the team,” Pruett said. “And we have a lot of talent in our junior varsity roster. We just have to put it together and see what happens.”
Senior Ben McGinnis was poised to lead a group of cross-country Tigers that grew stronger as last season progressed, and with the addition of junior Collin Killgore to the team, the team looks prepared to build on the team’s top-ten state finish.
“As for Collin, we are very excited about having him join our program this fall. Looking ahead, our boys’ team looks to be very strong. Collin and Ben McGinnis should go into the season as two of the top individual runners in AAA,” Head Coach Charles Beusse said. “After them, a strong group of young guys in Wiley Dennis, Luke Hamby, Brendan Swafford, and Ethan Smith look primed for a breakout season. If we can keep everyone healthy and be consistent in our training, I expect this team to be in position for a region title and a podium finish at state.”
The 2019 girls’ team will feel the absence of graduated senior Frankie Muldoon, but appears well prepared to make up the loss, as Jenna Lecours has emerged as a natural leader of the team and last year’s core group returns to the team intact.
“While we lost (Muldoon) to graduation, all of our other girls will be back next season, Jenna Lecours, Molly Muenchen, Avery Young, Evion Reinhardt, Isabelle Kinsey, and Celine Sapp,” Beusse said. “With another year of experience and training, I expect that this girls’ team could be very strong next season.”
Both Dawson County basketball programs have been hitting the gym hard through the first weeks of July as each team works to make up for the loss of their leading scorers in Luke Chism and Kaylee Stickers in addition to several key support players to graduation at the end of last season.
Head Coach Steve Sweat enters his 23rd season at the helm of the Lady Tigers, while the boys’ team will start the 2019 season with first year Tigers coach Erick Herrick who took over for Chad Pittman after he announced his retirement in May.
The Tigers will wrap up the practice schedule before “dead-week” by participating in the NCAA Georgia GHSA team camp June21-23 and will open the second half of the off-season with by hosting a two-day skills camp at Dawson County High School.
The Lady Tigers recently spent three days at the University of North Georgia for a region wide skills camp and returned to host their annual Fun-damentals camp at Rock Creek Park last week.
Both teams are looking to build on historic campaigns after the boys made their first-ever Final Four appearance in 2018 while the girls appeared in the Elite Eight.