The Dawson County High School girls cross country team stepped up big at the Class AAA state meet at Carrollton High School on Saturday. The Lady Tigers went into the meet ranked No. 7 and pulled out a hard-earned fifth place overall finish.
There were 26 schools at the meet.
The Lady Tigers earned a combined total of 212 points.
Winning the state team title was Westminster with 29 points.
"To finish in the top five at state is no easy task," said Head Coach Charles Beusse. "However, these girls are a tough group. All season we have showed up at races with people expecting us to get beat, but our girls always step up when called upon.
"At region, Banks was favored to come out on top but our girls stepped up. Today was much the same. In the pre-state rankings, nobody expected the Dawson girls to pull ahead of Jefferson or Savannah Arts Academy, but again, the girls stepped up when called upon."
Dawson County was led by freshman Marley Hamby who crossed the finish line in 24th place. She posted a time of 22:09.75.
Hamby was followed by teammates Bailey Cotter (23:08), Faith Sinclair (23:39), Ansley Costley (23:45) and Melanie Rimawi (23:51).
Also running for the Lady Tigers were Taylor Grindstaff (23:57) and Cassidy Lecours (24:59).
There were 185 runners in the meet.
Covering the 5K race in 19:26 and taking the state individual title was Audrey Honiotes from Hart County.
State runner-up went to MaryClaire Solomon from Blessed Trinity with a time of 19:34.
"The great thing about today is that the future looks bright for the girl's team. All of our top five runners from today will return next season which is very exciting," Beusse said.
Dawson County will lose two seniors from their varsity squad this season, Cassidy Lecours and Taylor Grindstaff.
"The things they, Lecours and Grindstaff, have done for our team this year will last long after they graduate. They have been essential in establishing the tradition and culture of our girls' program that has led to their success," Beusse said.