The Dawson County High School cross country team traveled to Marist School last weekend and surprised the large group of schools from Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and Texas with a strong showing from the varsity boys program.
"To see a performance like that from our boys at a meet of this magnitude, I believe that it is a turning point for our program," said Coach Charles Beusse.
The team finished in fourth overall-behind Marist, Milton and Collins Hill.
Dawson County was the smallest public school in attendance and the only county school.
Senior runner Jacob Poston finished the varsity race in second place overall with the third fastest time ever recorded at the Marist course, 16 minutes 21 seconds.
The only runner to beat him was Sam Bowers who is a AAAAAAA state leader.
"Jacob absolutely shocked some people yesterday," Beusse said of the performance. "You could tell that a lot of people there couldn't even wrap their head around the fact that a kid from the smallest public school [at the event] had just showed up and beaten some of the best runners in the state for all classifications."
Other members of the team also had successful races. Chris Shelp and Cody Wood took 29th and 31st.
"Overall, it was the gutsiest boys' race I have seen from a boys' team at Dawson. They showed up unintimidated and ready to compete," Beusse said.
Fourth-ranked AAA team Lovett was 98 points behind Dawson County.
Poston was also named runner of the week across all classifications, according to Beusse.
Beusse also praised the efforts on the girls' side, but had several runners sitting out to focus on the Sept. 13 race against West Hall. Results of that race were not available as of press time.
He, instead, ran three girls on varsity and three in the junior varsity field.
"I knew that our top runners, Frankie Muldoon and Marley Hamby needed the experience the varsity race would offer, but I didn't feel comfortable putting some of our freshmen and first year girls in a varsity race of this magnitude just yet," he said.
Despite illness, Muldoon still finished in the top 25 along with Hamby.
The teams will run again on Sept. 24 at the Wingfoot Classic in Cartersville.