As the Northwest cross country team gets set to kick off its season Saturday at the Greenhill Relays, coach George Lutkenhaus is optimistic about the teams he has in place.
With most of the off -season prep work behind the Texans distance runners, Lutkenhaus said he has been impressed with what he has seen so far.
“We have a had a good summer so far,” Lutkenhaus said. “We have put in a lot of miles, and we are looking forward to the Greenhill Relays.”
Northwest has a number of strong returning runners from last year's teams as well.
“Right now, the top three runners on the girls’ side are Cassidy Adams, Baylee Nelson and Katherine Chavez,” Lutkenhaus said. “Then on the guys’ side, we've got Jacob Suchors and Trevor Bohr as the top two. We are expecting them to lead the way for us this season.”
With realignment, Lutkenhaus said that there are different teams to beat for both teams.
“On the boys side, Timber Creek has a lot coming back from a very strong team that made it to Austin,” Lutkenhaus said. “On the girls side, I would say we are all pretty even. It's all kind of up for grabs, with Southlake moving out of our district. We have several teams that are pretty strong, so I would say it is up in the air going into the season so far.”
Lutkenhaus said that the objectives for this season are pretty straightforward.
“Our goal is definitely to get both teams to the regional meet,” Lutkenhaus said. “I think that we have some new opportunities for everybody this season to try to do some damage as the season goes along.”
In order to achieve the teams' goal of qualifying for regionals and hopefully getting out to state, Lutkenhaus said that it will take a couple of things from his runners.
“Our top runners have got to stay healthy, and then on both sides, he have a really strong pack right behind our top two or three runners,” Lutkenhaus said. “We've got to stay within about 30 seconds of each other and run really well as a team. We can't be spread out all over the place and expect to be successful.”
The Northwest cross country team qualified for the regional meet last season, and Kellee McCann advanced to the state cross country meet.
McCann is now running at Syracuse University.