ELBING — The Berean Academy cross country team claimed a 1-2 finish at state last year and has high aspirations again for this season.
Lewis Wiebe begins his fourth season as the Warriors’ coach.
The Berean boys were first at the Heart of America League meet, first at regionals and first at Class 1A state. The girls were third at league, first at regionals and second at state, one point shy of the state title.
"The girls will have to build some depth in our three through six runners and develop as runners," Wiebe said. "We need to keep working and gaining confidence.
"The boys have a strong group back from last year and should have a stronger team than last year. Some new runners could help give us more depth."
Three state medalists return for the Berean boys — senior Drew Janzen, who finished ninth; senior Gavin Tucker, who finished 17th; and junior Eli Nord, who finished 15th.
Other returning state qualifiers include seniors Trey Topham and Sam Snook, and junior Parker Stucky.
Another returning letterwinner is sophomore Andrew Harder, who missed the last half of the season with an injury.
Returning state qualifiers for the girls inclide senior Sonya Zimmerman, junior Katherine Harms and sophomores Tayana Nord and Kessa Case.
Looking to move up from the junior varsity ranks is sophomore Madi Briggs.
Newcomers for the girls include senior Mia Krebs, sophomore Liz Bollinger, juniors Teegan Smith and Joanna Smith and freshman Abie Evans.
Newcomers for the boys include sophomores Creighton Kukala and Mason Regier, and freshmen Nick Krebs, Gavin Evans and Isaac Snook.
Wiebe looks at Bennington and Remington as the top contenders for the HOAL girls title. Bennington was second in Class 2A state last year, while Remington was fifth.
Top contenders for the Warriors’ title on the boys side are Hutchinson Trinity, Bennington and Sterling. Trinity was fifth in Class 2A last season.
The top nonleague foe for both teams is Buhler, which won the Class 4A title in both boys and girls competition.
Sept. 3 @ Clearwater Inv. 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 10 @ Swather Special (Hesston GC) 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 17 @ Buhler Inv. 4:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 @ Southeast of Saline Inv. 4 p.m.
Oct. 1 @ Berean Academy Inv. (Harvey County East Park) 3 p.m.
Oct. 8 @ Sterling Inv. 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 15 HOAL @ Hutchinson (Prairie Ridge Park) 4:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 Regionals TBA
Oct. 31 State @ Wamego CC TBA