The Mansfield cross country team has a number of young runners on both sides this year, but good showings early on this year have coach Danny Calderon optimistic about his boys and girls teams’ chances.Mansfield recently competed in the James Smith Invitational, where it finished second on the boys side and eighth on the girls side, and Calderon said he was pretty happy with the effort he saw.“The team did well,” Calderon said. “I think there were over 30 teams at the meet. Our top boys runners were Matt Farina (fifth overall) and John Stivers (27th overall). The boys have been doing very well. On the girls side, we have a very young team this year. We graduated some seniors, and I think we have about four freshmen on the team.“A lot of them are still learning how to run a 5K race, but they are working very hard and I am proud of them. I think that, come time for district, I think they are going to surprise a lot of people.”Calderon said that one of the big things for his girls team is just learning the high school game.“Running a 5K is so much different from running a 1-mile or 2-mile race that the girls are used to running from middle school,” Calderon said. “It’s a lot of pacing and starting off strong, but not to fast. You have to adapt and learn, and they are figuring it out, and I feel confident that by the end of the year they will figure out how to run a 5K and maximize their potential.”Calderon said he has been impressed with the effort of Melissa Martinez (18th at the Smith Invitational) on the girls side early on.“She has worked really hard all summer,” Calderon said. “On the boys side, John Stivers has always been very solid and is one my team captains. He has always stepped it up when we needed him, and then, of course, Matt is having a great season.”Mansfield had its bye last week, and Calderon said he used it for a couple of purposes.“I did give them the day off on Friday,” Calderon said. “But we did work hard. The freshman, we got them more used to the schedule, getting up early in the morning and figuring out how to balance their schedules.”Mansfield will compete in the Lion's Den Invitational in Ennis this weekend, and Calderon said he has a couple of objectives for the meet.“We want to really sharpen our ranges in terms of pacing ourselves,” Calderon said. “Then we want to work on the last half of the race and finishing strong. Obviously, one of the goals is always to win the meet, but right now, we are focused on trying to get everything together so we are peaking at the right time.”The Lion's Den Invitational will be held Saturday at Jaycee Park in Ennis.