All those grueling miles of running will be tested Oct. 28 at the Region 8-AA cross country championship to be held at Jefferson High School.
Both Dawson County teams have a chance to advance to the state meet, which will be held in Carrollton.
The boys’ team has been ranked in the top 10 all season, currently at #7, while the girls’ team boasts one of the top 10 runners in the state in Madalyn Walters.
“We are on target for both teams to qualify,” said Head Coach Brian DeRose.
“The boys’ team should get in if they run their normal race and the girls have an outside shot.”
On the boys’ side North Oconee is the favorite to take the region crown. They boast the #2 runner in the state in Tripp Hurt.
Hurt has run the 3.1-miles in a personal best of 16:04.76.
Titan runner Ian Wraga is ranked #10 with a personal record of 16:42.76. The Titans are currently ranked #4 in AA.
The Tiger team is ranked in the top 10 at #7. DeRose’s team has five runners that can cover the 3.1-mile course in under 19 minutes.
Led by Tyler Thurmond (17:59.32) and followed by John Erickson (18:01.77), Chris Bywaletz (18:20.40), Preston Adams (18:21.47) and Courtney Wittington (18:26. 90), the team has a strong chance to advance to the state AA tournament.
Rounding out the lineup for the boys are Sam Wentworth, Luke Williamson, Zach Yarborough, Jake Hafermalz and Mason Carr.
Other challengers in the boy’s region are Oglethorpe County, Jefferson, East Jackson and Banks County.
For the girls, Dawson has a chance to capture one of the top two places and advance to state.
Junior Madalyn Walters is the star of the team with a #10 individual ranking in AA.
Walters has run a personal best of 19:24.91. She has to run her normal race and hope that her teammates can post a personal record in order to qualify, according to DeRose.
Lady Tiger Emma Salema is second on the team with a personal record of 22:53.67. She is followed by Dawson runners Michelle Burkett (23:10.43), Rachel Glockner (23:26.80) and Morgan Williams (23:47.69).
Other members of the Lady Tiger team are Morgan Collett, Allie Costley, Summer Lewis, Savannah Estes and Bethany Auten.
Jackson County is the favorite on the girls’ side to win the region title.
The Lady Panthers best runner is Brittany Aikens with a time of 20:02.25. Close behind her is teammate Rachel Pasko with a time of 20:40.08.
Jackson is ranked #5 as a team in AA.
Close behind is North Oconee at #8 in AA. The Lady Titans are led by Sheila Donovan (20:39.18) and Olivia Pigg (21:00.30).
East Jackson is also a favorite. Their top two runners are Sherri Blaylock (20:08.75) and Courtney McDowell (21:36.24).