The Dawson County High School varsity girls cross country team started the 2015 season with a bang.
The Lady Tigers, led by Coach Charles Beusse, finished in second place at the 12th annual War Eagle Invitational Sept. 1 at Chestatee Middle School.
Dawson County earned 93 team points for the second place trophy. Taking the team title was White County with 58 points.
There were 19 teams competing at the meet.
"It was a great test for both of our teams and exposed them to some high quality competition," Beusse said.
The Chestatee course was fairly flat with a couple of short hills.
The difficulty with the course was the tight turns that caused runners to slow down to navigate them.
The biggest factor for both the boys and girls teams was the heat and humidity.
Leading Dawson County was freshman Frankie Muldoon, it was Muldoon's first varsity race, with a third place medal crossing the finish line with a time of 21:09.
Marley Hamby also ran an excellent race with a fifth place finish and a time of 21:13.
The top five runners earn points toward the final team score. Lady Tigers that earned points were: Bailey Cotter (26th), Melanie Rimawi (28th) and Faith Sinclair (31st).
Also completing the 3.1-mile race were Ansley Costley and Isabelle Queen.
"Frankie Muldoon and Marley Hamby really stood out," Beusse said. "I'm excited for things to come for Frankie. Marley finished fifth and looked strong the entire way. The duo of Frankie and Marley will be huge for our girl's success this season. Bailey Cotter, Melanie Rimawi and Faith Sinclair also looked strong and enter the season much fitter than this time last year."
Winning the individual title was senior Jenna Gearing from White County with a time of 19:20.
Gearing is the three-time cross country state champion.
For the boys, Jacob Poston ran a great race.
Poston completed the course with a time of 17:26, good enough for a third place ribbon.
The boys, as a team, took fifth overall with 121 team points.
North Hall took the team title with 46 points, easily outdistancing second place Chestatee with 100 points.
Completing the 5,000-meter race for the Tigers were: Christopher Shelp (15th), Garrett Carlisle (29th), Ethan Clark (31st) and Cody Wood (43rd).
Also running for Dawson County were Ethan Cowart and Raleigh Payne.
Breaking the tape with a first place finish was Corson Teasley from North Hall with a time of 16:37.
Second place went to Tommy Johnston, also from North Hall, with a time of 17:06.
"I was pleased with almost all of the performances by our runners," Beusse said. "On average, our returning runners enter the season a minute faster than they were this time last year on the same course and that's huge.
"I thought Jacob (Poston) ran well against some great runners. I was also pleased with Chris Shelp and Garrett Carlisle. Garrett is a senior and enters this season nearly two minutes faster than last year. He ran his fastest time ever (at the meet). He's put in a lot of work and deserves a lot of credit for that. He's a leader for us and a real team minded young man."
Both teams will race at Marist High School on Saturday.
The first race will begin at 7:50 a.m.
"It will be one of the highest profile races Dawson County has ever competed in," Beusse said. "I'm excited about the things to come this year. I try not to get too excited early on, but I see something special with these teams, especially the girls. People know who Dawson is when we show up at meets. In a sense, the success of last year put a target on our back. That's a relatively new feeling for Dawson, but something we welcome as a challenge."