Summer break is coming to a close for Dawson County High School students, but the school's cross country program has yet to take a break. Both the boys and girls teams have used the summer months to prepare for the upcoming season beginning this month.
Runners have trained at least two days a week to prepare themselves for the 3.1 miles they must run in each meet.
"I'm pleased with the turnout this summer," said head coach Brian DeRose. "We have averaged around 35 runners for each workout."
Both teams are coming off successful 2010 seasons. The girls' team saw Maddie Walters capture the Region 8-AA crown.
Walters is being recruited by several Division I schools across the country.
The Lady Tigers finished 10th overall at the state meet in Carrolton last season.
The boys' team returns their top four runners after a Region 8-AA runner-up finish and a sixth-place finish in the state.
"Our guys have been training really hard," DeRose said. "We expect them to be at least a top-four team in the state this season."
Returning for the boys will be Jon Erickson, Tyler Thurmond, Sam Wentworth, Chris Bywaletz and Preston Adams.
"Our runners have really worked hard during the summer months. We decided this season to only go two days a week instead of four days and it has really worked out well," DeRose said.
Official practice began Aug. 1 for both teams.
"We usually pick up several new runners once school begins. They will be behind if they didn't participate in summer workouts, but we are glad they are here," DeRose said.
The first cross country meet is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 17. The event will be the Northeast Georgia Invitational at Athens Christian Academy.