Dawson County High School junior Madalyn Walters captured the Region 8-AA cross country championship last Thursday with a time of 20:35.45. The 3.1-mile race was held at Crowe’s Lake and hosted by Jefferson High School.
Walters finished ahead of second place Brittany Aikens of Jackson County, who finished with a time of 20:37.30, and third place Sherri Blaylock of East Jackson with a time of 21:20.05.
Because of her efforts and those of her teammates the Lady Tigers came in third place in the region and qualified for the state championships this Saturday in Carrollton.
“Maddie has had great workouts over the last two weeks,” said Head Coach Brian DeRose.
“We asked her to be conservative during the first mile. After the mile-mark she gave me the thumbs up and really turned it on the second and third mile,” he added.
Walters is ranked #10 individually in AA with a personal best of 19:42.91. Carley Gilreath, who just joined the team from softball where she played in the outfield, finished second on the Dawson team with a time of 23:13.43. DeRose said about his end-of-season recruit: “This was only her second week of cross country training. She finished in 15th place, but almost came in the top 10.”
Lady Tigers Michelle Burkett and Rachel Glockner followed Gilreath across the finish line.
Burkett and Glockner ran a solid race for Dawson County, and came in 18th and 27th respectively.
“They both ran competitive races,” DeRose said. “Michelle (Burkett) is a competitor. Rachel (Glockner) and Michelle both are still learning pace, but I can always count on these two runners.”
Allie Costley finished in 30th place for the Lady Tigers followed by Morgan Collett and Morgan Williams.
Costley is another runner DeRose picked up in mid-season.
“She was conditioning for basketball on the track and I noticed how well she was running. We asked her to try cross country and she has improved every week,” he said.
“I though our runners ran very well. They really stepped it up,” DeRose added.
Capturing the region title was the Jackson County Lady Panthers with 61 points, followed by Jefferson who scored 74 points.
The Lady Tigers edged out North Oconee for third place by one point 91 to 92.
In the state meet Dawson County will race against favorites Westminster, Blessed Trinity and Lovett.
Westminster has the top runner in any classification in Sahara Fletcher.
Fletcher boasts a personal record of 17:52.59.
“I will be pleased in whatever the girls can get in the tournament,” DeRose said. “If we finish eighth or better I will be happy.”
The AA race will begin at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday in Carrollton.