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Tigers runners place in top 10
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Chris Bywaletz led the Dawson County Tigers boys' cross country team to an eighth place finish at the State Cross Country meet last Saturday at Carrollton High School.

Bywaletz finished the tough 3.1-mile course with a time of 18:07.39 for a 33rd-place overall finish.

"The race started off quick and our guys were in good position from the beginning," said Head Coach Brian DeRose. "As the race progressed, the guys fell a bit off the pace, but still kept in the hunt."

The Tigers have competed in the state meet in three of the last five years under DeRose.

Winning the team title, for the third year in a row, was Westminster with a team total of 45 points. Westminster had three runners place in the top 10 with a first, third and seventh place finisher.

Lovett High School took second place with 78 points.

Region 8-AA had four teams place in the top 10, led by North Oconee. The Titans took fourth place (152 points). Jefferson came in sixth with 235 points and Hart County finished seventh with 253 points.

Dawson County took eighth place out of 32 teams with a team score of 269.

The Tigers had runners place 33, 45, 52, 65, 74, 83 and 95th out of 222 runners.

"The guys team ran decent. Our top runner was off his personal record by about a minute and the rest of the team was off a bit also. It was cold and early. Had the team run close to their PR's Saturday, they could have been around fifth place. It's an assumed goal for any team to finish in the top 10 in the state. There were 32 teams there fighting for the top 10 spots," DeRose said.

Dawson County's Jonathan Erickson posted the second best score for the Tigers team.

Erickson completed the course with a time of 18:24 and a 45th place finish.

Following Erickson were teammates Tyler Thurmond (18:37), Jake Hafermalz (18:49), Preston Adams (18:58), Sam Wentworth (19:11) and Josh Styles (19:24).

"I'm proud of these guys for sticking it out this season. Our region combined with 6AA is one of the hardest in the state. The guys went in ranked 10th and finished eighth. We'll have a solid base to start out next season with Chris, Jon and Hafermalz. They got good experience to put to use next season," DeRose said.