Injuries and sickness have plagued the Lady Tiger cross country team all season. Such was the case at the AA state championships held at Carrollton High School on Saturday.
Madalyn Walters, Region 8-AA individual champion, came down with some sort of stomach ailment. Walters competed in the race, but finished a disappointing 16th place out of 184 runners.
“Maddy’s stomach was really bothering her. She didn’t do as well as we hoped. Maddy was in third after a mile and looked really good. Our goal was for her to place in the top five. At two miles she was around 6th. That last mile was real tough for her as she ended up in 16th place. She still had a good season,” said Head Coach Brian DeRose.
The Lady Tigers number two runner, Carly Gilreath, was unable to run because of a knee injury suffered last week.
DeRose decided to bring back foreign exchange student Emma Salmela.
Salmela has also been fighting knee issues. She didn’t run in the region meet.
“We had to bring Emma back for the state meet but she hasn’t run in 10 days.
We had to kind of put our team together between region and state,” DeRose said.
Despite all their problems Dawson was able to finish in 10th place overall as a team with 286 points.
Winning the team title was Wesminster with 33 points.
They were followed by Blessed Trinity (44), Lovett (115), Jackson County (127), Buford (145), Bleckley County (197), East Jackson (231), Jefferson (232) and St. Vincents Academy (239).
“The girls placed 10th and for them that was pretty good. We had people get hurt and to have gotten a top 10 in state is pretty amazing. There aren’t many teams that have done that,” DeRose said.
The Lady Tigers had three runners accomplish a personal record at the state meet. Michelle Burkett (22:54.33), Allie Costly (23:54.94) and Morgan Collett (23:37.32) all set new personal records.
They finished in 53rd, 81st and 75th respectively.
Also running for Dawson at the state meet was Summer Lewis and Salmela.
“I was really proud of them for fighting through some adversity. Morgan Collett ran a really good race. Allie Costley ran a great race. Michelle Burkett also ran an outstanding race,” DeRose said.
Winning the AA individual was favorite Sahara Fletcher of Westminster with a time of 18:27.57.
Emma Salmela and Courtney Wittington are the only two seniors for the Lady Tigers.
Next year should be a great year for Dawson County High School cross country.
Both the boys’ and girls’ teams will return all runners who scored in the state meet last week.