JIM THORPE

Head coach Drew Benyo (25th season)

Assistant coaches Marie Rosahac

League Schuylkill League

Classification AA

Last year's record 6-3 overall (2-3 SL Division 1)

Key losses Chris Boyd, Darren Gehres

Key returnees Bob Taylor (Sr.), Erik Sellers (Jr.), Christian Fields (Jr.), Zachary Nace (Jr.), Nathan Fields (So.), Jonathan Condly (So.), Jacob Saxon (So.)

Others to watch Jian Qui Gentile (Fr.), Jake McGeehan (Jr.)

Strengths Benyo stated the Olympians are an outstanding core of hard working and talented young kids. Great team spirit will be an added plus this season. The veteran Olympian mentor stressed everyone gets along and also pushes each other to reach their best. He's very pleased with the effort and commitment of the entire boys team so far this off-season. Benyo is looking for an outstanding season, not only this year, but for the next two or three.

Weaknesses Regardless of being an overall strong team, the Olympians could use a few more runners in case the season is stricken by some injuries.

Quotable "I am very pleased with the boys' commitment to our program. Several have gone to camp over the summer and that pays off. They know that the potential for an outstanding season is there and they are doing everything possible to reach that potential. I see more victories in the future and hopefully one or more runners in Hershey in November," Head coach Drew Benyo.

LEHIGHTON

Head coach Jake Marushak (First season)

Assistant coaches Erica Pagotto

League Mountain Valley Conference

Classification AA

Last year's record 1-11 overall

Key losses David Magyar

Key returnees Daulton Radler (Sr.), Chris Bosco (Sr.)

Others to watch Ben Ronemus (Jr.), Jeff Ebbert (Sr.)

Strengths Although our numbers are down we have many key returnees with alot of experience in cross country. We are working hard at practice and each athlete has been pushing themselves in a positive way. It is a team goal to get as many athletes to the state championships as possible.

Weaknesses Our main weakness is the number of athletes on the team. If we have any injuries during the season we might not be able to compete as a team during some dual meets.

Quotable "It is my goal as the head coach to push each athlete to reach their maximum potential. I have a terrific group of athletes that work hard and I expect to see great things from them this season," Head coach Jake Marushak.

MARIAN

Head coach Jeremy Dormer

Assistant coaches Rob Legath, Christina Legath

League Schuylkill League

Classification A

Last year's record N/A

Key losses none

Key returnees Phil Marzen (Sr), Nick Hopeck (Jr), Dylan Hasther (Sr), Phil DeSantis (Jr), Nick Mennighan (Jr).

Others to watch Graham Wolk (Jr), Nick Mayernik (Jr), Connor Roberts (So), Jon-Luke Sivak (So), Matthew Greenfield (Fr)

Strengths The numbers are up for this season's team and with Marzen being a more-than-capable runner on the squad, there is a lot of talent to build around...with Marzen as a leader, the others are responding well to his vocal leadership, which Dormer is hoping translates well, as the season progresses...the depth is good with the roster containing more players on the team than in recent years.

Weaknesses The problems for the Colts lie immediately after Marzen, as the 'grouping' doesn't finish until minutes after the senior frontrunner...there are also some newcomers to the team that bring inexperience into the system that the coaches need to be focused on in the early-going.

Quotable "Hopefully, if the kids can keep working hard, their times can keep getting better and the grouping can become more solid to the point where we compete with some of these other teams in the league. With the high number of runners on the team, we are excited about the team this season," Head coach Jeremy Dormer.

NORTHWESTERN

Head coach Chris Stitzel (14th year)

Assistant coaches Tim Chruretta

League Colonial League

Classification AA

Last year's record 12-14 overall (12-12 Colonial League)

Key losses Brett Volk

Key returnees Tyler Stelmack (Sr.), Patrick Strobel (Sr.), Ryan Cerrone (Jr.), Joey Duffy (Sr.), Collin Furchner (Jr.)

Others to watch Brayden Heller (So.), Jarett White (Fr.)

Strengths Tyler Stelmack is the defending league champ who was 12th in the state as a junior. Patrick Strobel returns after a car accident derailed his junio season. Ryan Cerrone returns from an injury-hampered sophomore year. The Tigers top seven will be strong. The team has its sights on knocking off defending league champ Bangor, which returns nearly its entire line up. The Tigers top goal is to finish in the top two at districts and earn a state-meet berth for the entire team.

Weaknesses Injuries to any of the top five or six runners could hurt Northwestern's chances of beating Bangor as well as their chances of going to states. The team could have competed for a league title last year if it had been at full strength.

Quotable "I think this is the deepest (boys) team I've had here. We have high expectations for the guys. We have a real good shot of taking the boys team to states if we keep everybody healthy. We have eight or nine senior boys. This is the year to do it." Head coach Chris Stitzel.

NORTHERN LEHIGH

Head coach Dave Oertner (31st season)

Assistant coaches Beth Case, Amy Zeiser

League Colonial League

Classification AA

Last year's record 3-23 overall (3-23 CL)

Key losses Vaughn Reese

Key returnees Chris Hoffman (Sr.), Alex Hoffner (Jr.), Andrew Oertner (Jr.) , Aaron Hofmann (So.), Matt Pender (So.), Andrew Tarafas (So.)

Others to watch Nathan Snyder (So.), Gage Christ (Fr.), Gavin Kemery (Fr.)

Strengths The Bulldogs only lost Reese to graduation. Therefore, the Bulldogs will return a deep core of young talented runners this season and have added a few new quality young harriers. Oertner stated these returnees were thrust into varsity competition last year as freshmen and sophomores and were just physically overwhelmed. But, now Oertner believes they have that vital experience to build upon down the road.

Weaknesses Although the Bulldogs are experienced, Oertner feels they are still very young and still a year behind most teams as far as physical maturity is concerned.

Quotable "When you combine our young talent with a year of physical maturity and the experience our boys gained last year, we expect to have a successful season," Head coach Dave Oertner.

PALMERTON

Head coach Jeff Minnich (12th season)

Assistant coaches Kurt Eckhart

League Colonial League

Classification AA

Last year's record 10-16 overall (10-16 CL)

Key losses John Achtermann, Mike Horvath, Cody Eckhart

Key returnees Shaun Seiler (So.), Josh Evans (Jr.), David Fitzpatrick (Sr.)

Others to watch Zach Svetik (Fr.), Seth Andress (Fr.), Mark Quinn (So.)

Strengths The strength Minnich sees so far in his Bombers' program is the fact that he has a good pack of guys. Minnich stated they have run closely in practice and that he is confident that it will carry over into regular season meets. The Bombers will need to stress that as they move along during the season.

Weaknesses At this point the Bombers don't have that bona fide No. 1 person that they know will always be at the front of the pack for them. Minnich feels this will make having a pack that much more crucial. The Bombers are also young as most of their roster is filled with ninth and 10th graders.

Quotable "At this point, I have liked what I have seen so far. Some of our guys came back in better shape than last year and some of our new freshman are going to play key roles this year. Experience may be lacking as this is one of the youngest rosters I can recall having, but the attitude has been very good thus far," Head coach Jeff Minnich.

PLEASANT VALLEY

Head coach George Fair (14th season)

Assistant coaches Rick Rimple

League Mountain Valley Conference

Classification AAA

Last year's record 10-2 overall (10-2 MVC)

Key losses Tim Landes, Zach Williamson

Key returnees Alex Larkin (Sr.), Joe Phillips (So.), Patrick Rimple (Jr.), Mason Buskirk (Sr.), Shane Peechatka (Sr.), Nick Dontelli (Sr.)

Others to watch Mike Sucic (Jr.), Tom Stone (Sr.), Will Anderson (Jr.), Tom Ciaccio (Jr.), Austin Herman (So.)

Strengths The Bears are blessed to have a large group of varsity harriers returning for another season. Six of the top eight Bears Larkin, Phillips, Rimple, Buskirk, Peechatka and Dontelli are back to make some noise on the competitive trails. Fair stated that normally a coach doesn't get that much maturity back for another year.

Weaknesses Fair is trying to deal with the notion that All-Mountain Valley Conference runner Tim Landes is not returning for another season. The seasoned mentor stated its hard to replace someone with that much talented. However, he has faith in those returnees that they can fill his shoes.

Quotable "I guess if the returning runners we have back can close the gap between each other then we can have ourselves a successful season," Head coach George Fair.

TAMAQUA

Head coach Tom Kanger (10th season)

Assistant coaches None

League Schuylkill League

Classification AA

Last year's record 5-7 overall (1-5 SL)

Key losses Thomas Betzler

Key returnees David Frederick (Sr.), Shane Baddick (Sr.), Zach Oliveria (Jr.), Jordyn Fatzinger (Jr.), Steve Matukonis (Jr.), Nick Digilio (Jr.), Matt Stahler (Jr.)

Others to watch Andrew Tite (Fr.), Dustin Sabol (Jr.), Joseph Mellot (So.), Joshua Manness (So.)

Strengths Kanger only loses Betzler from last year's roster so returning numbers are definitely in his favor. Several key returners are back with the Blue Raiders, while there are a few talented new harriers who Kangers feels are to watch. The Blue Raiders will also have runners to fall into the top-seven if there would be any kind of injuries.

Weaknesses The Blue Raiders will be trying to do their best to group their new runners with their experienced harriers to create a strong five through seven.

Quotable "We havehad a good team the last several years, so it will be nice to have a larger boys team to train with each other," Head coach Tom Kanger.

WEATHERLY

Head coach Mik Miller (Third season)

Assistant coaches Phil Jeffries, Andy Vack, Shannon Shughart, Jenn Cronin

League Schuylkill League

Classification A

Last year's record 3-3 SL

Key losses Matt Caccese, Matt Cullen, Lucas Rinker

Key returnees Mike Embick (Sr.), Cody Hoffman (Sr.), Jared Nyer (Sr.), Alex Sirkot (Sr.), Bobby Gillott (So.), Brett Kelly (So.)

Others to watch Dillon Bizarre (Fr.), Kevin Dougherty (Fr.), Luke Figas (Fr.), Joey Genetti (Fr.), Josh Naegele (Fr.), Mike Nemshick (Fr.), Lee Nyer (Fr.), Jacob Sirkot (Fr.), Cyrick Thomas (Fr.)

Strengths The Wreckers have a strong senior core. There is a nice mix of upperclassmen and underclassmen that want to compete and have worked hard in the summer. The upperclassmen (especially Hoffman and Embick) have stepped up into a leadership role and are challenging themselves and their teammates during our workouts.

Weaknesses A majority of the runners are young and inexperienced at the varsity level. Weatherly will be relying heavily on underclassmen to round out its top five to seven spots during meets. The underclassmen have tasted success at the junior high level and hopefully it transpires at the varsity level.

Quotable "Many of the seniors this year have been in the program for several years and know what it takes to be successful. We have set high goals as a team and we have been improving each year, we have upped the tempo at practices and all of the runners from 12th grade down must respond in order to have a successful season," Head coach Mike Miller