For the third straight year, the Dawson County varsity cross country boys team won the region title at Unicoi State Park.
“This was the boys’ third consecutive region title, a feat which is very difficult to obtain in cross country,” said Coach Charles Beusse.
Though Beusse said it was a closer race with opponents North Hall than he would have liked, he was pleased with the Oct. 26 results.
“The boys were led by a tight pack of Dawson runners, Ben McGinnis, Chris Shelp and Cody Wood who finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the race and all earned first team all-region honors,” Beusse said.
McGinnis finished at 16 minutes, 44 seconds with Shelp at 16:53 and Wood at 16:57.
“These boys are a special group,” Beusse said. “I don’t think I have ever coached a group that’s so driven and motivated. They took care of business at region, but their primary focus is state.”
Close behind the top three was Nathan Blythe who finished 10th overall at 17:15 and Wiley Dennis who was 11th at 17:25.
“Nathan and Wiley both had great races and look ready for state,” Beusse said. “These two runners will be critical for us in Carrollton.”
Runner Nico Poston still managed to finish 15th overall and sixth for the Tigers despite having strep throat.
“Will Mulberry also had a strong race to round out the Dawson team,” he said.
The team will travel to Carrollton for the 3A boys race at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 4.
“Looking ahead toward state, we are very excited. The boys go into the state meet in a tight race with Westminster for the championship. However, we can't count anyone out. One of the reasons that cross country state titles are so elusive is that you must defeat 31 teams in a single race,” Beusse said. "It requires your entire team to have their best race of the season on a single day. If we can do that, and keep everyone healthy this week, I believe our boys have a shot at a championship.”
Beusse was also happy with the performances at the JV level emphasizing that these give a glimpse of the future of cross country running at Dawson County.
“Luke Hamby had a tremendous race with an 18:45 and finishing second overall,” Buesse said. “Austin Lawson and Preston Burt really stepped up as well and I expect to see them making some varsity appearances in the upcoming years.”