The Goessel girls’ cross-country team finished fourth at state in 2014, and four runners who competed at that meet return for this season.
Juniors Jennifer Meysing and Lauren Rymill are expected to score points regularly for the Bluebirds, and sophomores Julia Nightengale and Maddy Meier also return with state experience.
Meier, Rymill, and Nightengale ran the tough state course at Wamego with their best times of the season.
Memories of the state meet are mixed.
“It was cold and a hilly, tough course,” said Meysing, who missed an individual medal by one place.
Rymill remembered a tree root that nearly took her to the ground. Meier and Nightengale just enjoyed the experience running as friends with their teammates.
Kansas State High School Activities Association has changed the length of the girls’ course for regional and state to be the same distance as the boys: five kilometers.
Coach Brian Lightner is hoping that some of the regular meets during the season will also include the 5K distance to get the girls conditioned for the end of the season.
Leighton Wagner and Zach Wiens, seniors on this year’s boys’ squad, will be joined by younger runners.
Newcomer Devon LeRoy is the only runner on the boys’ team that can claim to have already run five kilometers in under 20 minutes.
That gives Wiens incentive to improve.
“That’s my goal for this season,” Wiens said. “Running under 20 minutes will help with placing individually. Devon will immediately help with team scores.”