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Teams qualify for state
Boys, girls finish 4th
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The Dawson County High School boys and girls cross country teams competed at the Region 7-AAA meet last week at Unicoi State Park, just outside of Helen.

Coach Brian DeRose's teams both finished in fourth place at the Nov. 1 event.

With the finishes, both teams qualified for the state meet, scheduled for Saturday, in Carrollton.

Tiger Dylan Forester led the Dawson County boys team. He crossed the finish line in fifth place with a time of 16:46.

Dawson County barely missed finishing third. Buford High School finished in third place with 98 points, followed by the Tigers 110 points.

North Hall won the Region 7-AAA championship with 18 team points.

The Trojans took the first four positions to establish an insurmountable led.

The Tigers edged out White County for the final spot in state, the top four teams qualify.

White County scored 117 points.

Witt Nix from North Hall captured the individual championship with a time of 15:55.

"All the guys ran well," DeRose said. "Dylan had a goal of qualifying as an individual and he did."

The top six individual runners move on to state no matter if their team qualifies or not.

Also running well for Dawson County were senior Chris Bywaletz (17:39) with a 15th place finish, senior Jake Hafermalz (18:38), junior Avery Cowart (18:40) and junior Mason Carr (19:25).

The first five runners to cross the finish line from each school earn team points.

Garrett Carlisle (20:13) and Drew Kellar (20:32) also competed in the meet.

"The guys did what they had to do to qualify. I'm very proud of them. Most all the top five guys ran close to personal records, which tells me they left it all out on the course Thursday. We're going to go to Carrollton and shoot for the top 10 and see what happens."

The boys teams competing at Carrollton from Region 7-AAA will be: North Hall, West Hall, Buford and Dawson County.

On the girls' side, the Lady Tigers held off Buford by only three points to take the fourth and final spot in the state meet.

Dawson County scored 131 points to Buford's 134 team points.

"The girls' race was a nail biter," DeRose said.

Sophomore Cassidy Lecours posted the best time for Dawson County.

Lecours came in 24th place with a time of 22:26.

Also scoring for Dawson County were: Taylor Grindstaff, sophomore, (22:26), senior Jade Perry (22:58), senior Savanna Estes (23:03) and sophomore Sara Bywalez (23:33).

The Lady Tigers runners took 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th and 29th place.

Dana Little (25:03) and Christine Schmid (25:37) also completed the course for Dawson County.

"The girls ran well at region, though they were very lucky. Buford had us by a few places going into the last mile and one of their top runners twisted an ankle in the woods and had to drop out. I don't like to win by other teams' misfortunes, but it is cross country and not track. The course has as much to do with the race as many other factors. It could have very well happened to us. I'm proud of the girls racing. They will also shoot for the top 10 at the state meet," DeRose said.

Winning the individual girls title was ninth grader Jenna Gearing from White County with a time of 18:44.