Coach Charles Beusse's boys and girls cross country teams competed at the Warpath Invitational at Boling Park in Canton Sept. 14.
The meet was hosted by Cherokee High School.
"It was the largest and toughest field both teams will likely see all year," Beusse said.
Not only did the Tigers' varsity teams compete, but both boys and girls junior varsity and middle school programs also ran the challenging course.
For the varsity boys, Dylan Forrester led the way.
The senior finished in 30th place out of 212 runners with a time of 17:07.
Posting times for the varsity boys were: Avery Cowart, Brian Colin, Brandon Barker, Armando Jimenez, Ben Umberger and Garrett Carlisle.
"All of these guys set season best times for this year," Beusse said. "I saw some good things Saturday from both our boys' team and girls team. The boys team looked stronger than they did at our first race and have dropped about 20 seconds off the team average 5K time. Based on what I saw Saturday, I think the boys' team will continue to improve and be in a good position to run hard at region."
Winning the varsity boys division was Logan Proteet from Kell High School with time of 15:39. Second place went to Michael Thurston from Marist. He crossed the finish line with a time of 15:49.
Marist took the team title with 95 points, barely edging out second place finisher Etowah with 98 points.
Running the junior varsity boys 3.1-mile race were: Mason Carr, Matt Hamil, Ben Drew, Ethan Cowart, Drew Keller, Andrew Hafermalz, Chris Lafontaine, Tyler Butler, Justin Posey and Jack Zappendorf.
Eighth grader Christopher Shelp led the middle school division with a second place finish.
Also representing Dawson County middle school were: Nathan Sorrells, 18th, Cody Wood, 22nd, Hunter Voyles, Jacob Sinclair, Jared Posey and Derek Chambers.
In the varsity girls' race, two freshmen led the Lady Tigers. Bailey Cotter and Isabel Queen picked up the two fastest times with a 22:57 and 23:15 respectively.
Cotter finished in 106th place and Queen in 113th out of 192 runner.
Crossing the finish line for the varsity girls were: Cassidy Lecours, Melanie Rimawi, Faith Sinclair, Ansley Costely and Dana Little.
"I was extremely proud of how the DCHS girls ran. Being so young on the girls' side, we have been working specifically on pacing and running controlled in the early stages of the race. The girls did not disappoint me. They stayed relaxed and dropped the team average 5K time by roughly 45 seconds," Beusse said.
"What I was more pleased with was how much the girls are coming together as a team. They worked off of each other during the race and ended the race with a spread from the first to fifth runner of only 44 seconds. I'm excited about what this girls' team can do in the future if they continue to stay committed. Following Saturday's performance, the DCHS girls team is ranked 11th in the state," Beusse said.
Morgan Ilse from Marist took the first place medal with a time of 18:14. Savannah Carnahan from South Forsyth came in second with a time of 18:46.
Marist took the team title, while Etowah finished in second place.
The junior varsity girls' team was led by Taylor Grindstaff and Jaylee Leete.
Grindstaff came in 68th and Leete in 69th from a field of 188 runners.
"Taylor Grindstaff looked strong on her road back from injury. She should contribute to the varsity squad very soon," Beusse said.
Coach Beth Hamby's middle school girls' ran against 147 runners. Finishing the race for the seventh and eighth graders were: Hope Bennett, Lindsey LeBaron, Jessica Butler, MacKenzie Smith and Hayley Burt.
"Overall, I was pleased with our performance at the Warpath Invitational today. Top schools such as Marist attended and some of the fastest times in the state this year were run on Saturday. It's tough to go up against teams like this, but I know that exposing Dawson to high quality competition will benefit us later in the season as we race schools in our region and classification. I'm much more worried about runners getting experience now, even if that means being beaten by top programs, to prepare us for region later in the season," Beusse said.
Up next for the Dawson County High School cross country team is an 8 a.m. race Saturday at Chattahoochee Pointe.