Dawson County graduate, Chris Shelp, was the last athlete of the class of 2018 to officially sign an athletic scholarship before receiving his diploma.
On May 23, Shelp signed his cross country scholarship with Augusta University surrounded by his family, coaches and teammates.
Shelp has been a track and cross country standout with Dawson County High School since his freshman year.
“I just I can’t stop doing it. It just gives me a feeling that nothing else can, especially when I succeed. It makes me feel really good,” said Shelp. “I love to compete and it’s nice to see me bring my times down. It’s something I can really gauge how I get better at it.”
Shelp began running cross country and track events in eighth grade and made it a goal to achieve an athletic scholarship.
“There’s not many people – if any – that have come through here that can say that they were a state finalist in cross country and track all four years of high school and that’s something that speaks volumes to his work ethic,” said Cross Country Coach Charles Beusse.
In November 2017, Shelp helped the Dawson County Tigers achieve second place in the state competition with a time of 17:29. He was one of the five Tiger runners in the top 20.
This past spring, Shelp qualified in not one but two track events. Since his freshman year, Shelp qualified for the 1600-meter run, but this year he also qualified in the 800-meter run.
“For him to be a four time qualifier for state period in track is more exceptional than y’all know,” said Track Coach Arron Haynes. “In 23 years of coaching I think I’ve had less than five of them – I think about three – that have had four years as a qualifier.”
Shelp earned eighth in the state in the 1600-meter run with a time of 4:35.
Beusse said that Shelp’s accomplishment serves as an example to the cross country team.
“Hard work over a period of time and determination and drive will help you achieve your goals,” Beusse said.
Shelp’s mother, Kathy, thanked Shelp’s teammates and coaches for everything they have done for him during his high school career.
“There’s more to just being an athlete than running fast. There’s learning how to win and lose and be good and I think Christopher has grown a lot in the last four years,” said Kathy.
As soon as school got out for the summer, Shelp was sure to be there running in June to prepare for cross country in the fall. Then in the winter he’d be running to prepare for the track meets. He trains year round, only getting one week off before he starts up again. Now, he is currently doing cross training for Augusta’s program.
“It’s hard to watch him go further than my other two boys went but it is a good school and it’s a good program for running,” said Kathy.
Augusta University is known for its running program, having gone to nationals this past year. Shelp knew it’s the college he wanted to attend.
Shelp was an honor graduate with a 3.8 GPA. He graduated from DCHS May 24. He plans to study Kinesiology at Augusta to become an athletic trainer.