The Lady Mavericks cross country team returns five members of last year's state runner-up team.
It was a banner year for Kiowa County cross country last season. Frank Cuevas was the individual champion in Class 2A, and the Maverick girls team were State runners-up at Wamego.
Arlen Harris (38th year of coaching, 5th as head KCHS XC coach) will welcome back 5 of the girls from a team which a year ago were league champions and regional champions in addition to taking second at State- finishing only 7 points out of the top spot.
Two of the top returners are Hailey Shaffer and Regan Rhodes, who each finished in the top 20 individuals at State a year ago.
Other returners include Casey Erickson, Madison Moore and Jackie Torres. Cameron Erickson joins the team this season and will provide depth.
The outlook is quite promising for the KCHS girls cross country team with the experience and quality that is returning. "The girls will be in pretty good position," acknowledged Coach Harris.
If there is a concern early on this year, it might be that the girls "have some injuries to mend," according to Harris.
With the departure of Cuevas, the boys team doesn't have as much coming back as the girls do. The boys were second in league, however, and do return 4 runners from that group.
Ashlind Gumpenberger, Eli Francis, Reid Rhodes and Camden VandenHoek are the Mavs who return this season. They will be joined by newcomer Ben Stewart.
The KCHS boys will have to turn it up a notch if they hope to earn a trip to State this year, as they took 5th at regional a year ago- and their top runner off that squad has graduated. "The boys will just need to improve," Coach Harris said," and I think they will."