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Tiger tennis heads to state after wins in 7-AAA Regional Tournament
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The Lady Tigers track and field seniors pose with their families after being presented to the home-crowd during Senior Night on April 11. - Photo courtesy of Arron Haynes for the Dawson County News

The return from spring break marked the beginning of the end of the 2018-19 spring sports season as the Tiger tennis program hosted the 7-AAA Regional Tournament on April 10 and 11 while the track and field team continued their remarkable season with victories over Fannin and Lumpkin Counties in their tri-meet on April 11.

Tennis

Played simultaneously across five courts, the 7-AAA Regional Tournament is a testament to sportsmanship and character as each match is scored by the participating athletes, with the odd result that all matches are settled by the final score of 3-0, and although there are systems in place to resolve a dispute, Lady Tigers Head Coach Stefanie Gibbs says they are rarely needed.

“We place a lot of emphasis on sportsmanship,” Gibbs said. “We want to give the girls the chance to practice that and the tournament is the perfect place. The closest thing we usually see to a dispute is one will ask ‘are you sure?’ but then they just keep playing.”

A series of losses in the final week of the regular season brought the Lady Tigers into the tournament as the fourth seed and they faced off against the fifth-seeded Fannin County Rebels to open day one. In a tougher than expected match, Dawson County emerged with the win to advance to the second round of the Tournament and secure a berth in the GHSA state tournament.

The Lady Tigers found themselves outmatched in their final two games of the tournament as the dropped back-to-back matches for a fourth-place finish in the region. That position puts them on a collision course with top-seeded Calhoun High School in the first round of the State Tournament on April 17.

“The key to success will be to play their match one point at a time and not letting the last mistake determine the next point,” Gibbs said. “We have worked all season learning that tennis isn't about the swing, it's about footwork, watching the ball and looking for their opponent’s patterns of play.”

The boys’ varsity team faced an uphill battle entering the tournament as the fifth-seed and facing off against regional rival Lumpkin County in their first match. After putting together a collection of their best games of the season, the Tigers upset the Indians and secured their first state playoff berth in five years.

“None of these boys have been to State,” Head Coach Logan Allen said. “I’m really excited for them to have this opportunity.”

After the opening win, the Tigers tournament mirrored the experience of the Lady Tigers and the boys found themselves on the wrong side of the score in their final two games to finish the tournament in fourth-place which also put them on track to play the 6-AAA Yellowjackets in the first round of the State tournament.

“We are up against some very stiff competition in the 1st round,” Allen said. “We just have to play our best tennis and grind out every point. We will have to play our best match of the year.”

The Dawson County tennis program faced off against the Calhoun Yellowjackets in the first round of the GHSA State Playoffs on April 17. Results were unavailable as of press time.

Track and Field

Although the Dawson County track and field teams set no more records in their tri-meet with Lumpkin county and Fannin County on April 11, both the boys’ and girls’ varsity teams continued their near perfect season as they each extended their regional records to 9-0.

For the second week in a row the Lady Tigers faced off against tougher than expected competition as the team found themselves hard-pressed across the field by both the Lady Rebels and the Lady Indians.

Senior Anna Lowe started the day with a gold medal finish in the shot put, but it was the strength of the long-distance runners that carried the Lady Tigers as Frankie Muldoon, Jenna LeCours, and Avery Young each won their individual races and then combined with Evion Reinhardt to win the 4x400-meter relay.

The five first place finishes, combined with seven silver medals, gave the Lady Tigers the edge they needed as they squeezed out a total of 69 points to take the win over Fannin County’s 57 points and Lumpkin’s total of 37.

Seniors Noah Brock, Ethan Cameron, and Cooper Freeman each took home a pair of medals as the Tigers claimed the top prize in 12 of 16 events and dominated their pair of opponents with a total of 61 points versus Lumpkin’s 37 and Fannin’s 27.

In a brief ceremony held at the end of the field events, Dawson County took time out to honor the accomplishments and contributions of the seven members of the senior class on this years Lady Tigers track team.

The boys celebrated Senior Night on April 18 when the team’s hosted the final meet of the regular season against Cherokee Bluff and Chestatee High School. Results were unavailable as of press time.