Running in their only home meet this season, Head Coach Charles Beusse's cross country teams seem primed to tackle the Region 7-AAA meet next week at Unicoi State Park.
Racing against neighboring rivals Lumpkin County and North Forsyth, both teams ran well over a challenging course, even though times were slower.
"Overall, I was very pleased with what I saw," Beusse said. "While we didn't see any regional competition, it was an important race because it was our only home meet of the season and a rivalry race against neighboring schools, Lumpkin and North Forsyth.
"The course was very difficult and didn't make for fast times, but I wanted the kids to focus more on getting into a championship racing mindset of focusing more on place than time."
Dawson County captured first place in the both the boys and girls event.
Tiger Dylan Forester won the overall boys title with an easy win. Forester's time was almost a minute faster than the second place runner. Forester set a new course record for Dawson County.
Avery Cowart, Bryan Colin, Brandon Barker and Armando Jimenez also ran well, moving up in the final mile to beat North Forsyth by two points for the win.
"It was an excellent opportunity for the guys to work on their racing skills prior to region and I was proud of how hard they fought in the final mile to pick up the win, Beusse said.
For the girls, freshman Bailey Cotter raced hard over the final mile to cross the finish line in second place.
Cotter was followed closely by Isabel Queen, Cassidy LeCours, Melanie Rimawi and Faith Sinclair for the Lady Tigers. All of whom finished in the top 10.
"Picking up wins was big for us and I hope it can serve as a confidence builder leading into region. I also hope this race, and season as a whole, can be a turning point for our program," Beusse said.
"Dawson County cross country has had success in the past, but I see a lot more potential in this group of athletes. They can set the stage now for much greater things to come," he added.
Both teams will now compete in the Region 7-AAA championships on Oct. 31 at Unicoi State Park in Helen.
"Our next race will be region and it's shaping up to be a real battle for both teams. We are in a position to surprise some people and maybe even ourselves a bit. It all comes down to how much our teams want it. They are a very hard working group of kids, but it all has to come together at region," he said.