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 Kayla Susko, Erin Bucci, Caitlin Liscinski, Caitlin Henninger, Gabby Miller, Samantha Miller, Cara Williams

Key returnees Briana Gehres (Sr.), Rebecca Osborne (Sr.), Catherine Condly (Jr.), Courtney Capper (Jr.), Emily Ruffa (So.)

Others to watch Terry Loyd (Sr.), Taylor Tonelis (Jr.), Lindsey Capper (So.), Anna Marie Fiducia (So.)

Strengths The Olympians have some raw talent that is working hard to reach their full potential. Several of the Olympians are doing training runs with the boys to work on improvements and Benyo feels that is always a good sigh of a strong work ethic in those individuals. He also feels that several newcomers are looking very promising even before the start of the regular season.

Weaknesses Numbers and inexperience will hurt the Olympians this season, as well as other interest. Benyo says he has kids who are trying to do soccer and volleyball and cross. The seasoned coach is concerned about the matter and feels you can not serve two masters and this is a perfect example. Although he applauds them for the efforts, Benyo feels one may suffer from it. Unfortunately for the Olympians, Benyo feels it will be cross country that will be hurting.

Quotable "We lost not only some very talented runners through graduation, but also three outstanding leaders, and wonderful young women. That kind of personality and combination of talent is very hard to replace. I see some rough spots over the next several years, but there are great kids in Jim Thorpe, and we will rebuild. It takes time," 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 2-10 overall

Key losses None

Key returnees Emily Oldt (Sr.), Jen Beers (So.), Cassie Rehnert (So.)

Others to watch None

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 (4th year)

Assistant coaches Rob Legath, Christina Legath

League Schuylkill League

Classification A

Last year's record N/A

Key losses Emma Boyle, Brianna O'Donnell

Key returnees Molly Balliet (Sr), Mary Susan McAndrew (Jr), Amanda Srinivasan (Jr)

Others to watch Emily DeSantis (Sr), Olivia Palmieri (Fr)

Strengths Like the Marian boys' team, Dormer has a solid and capable frontrunner in Molly Balliet to lead the Fillies throughout the season...the core of runners that follow her will be solid and look to improve as the season progresses, as well.

Weaknesses With only five runners on the team, obviously depth will be an issue for the Fillies, as the season goes along...being unsure about some of the newcomers' abilities, Dormer needs to evaluate and assess the potential early on and find a way to solve problematic areas.

Quotable "As for the whole team, we hope to improve on times all season and if we do that, they should fair well. With only five girls, it's going to be a tough job to get points any way we can. We need the middle of the pack to finish strong and break up the finishes of our opponents in each race," Head coach Jeremy Dormer.

NORTHWESTERN

Head coach Chris Stitzel (14th year)

Assistant coaches Tim Churetta

League Colonial League

Classification AA

Last year's record 26-0 overall, 26-0 league

Key losses Natalie Boehm, Emma Kemmerer, Erica Sarnicky, Alex Dutt, Ashley White

Key returnees Haley Yost (Jr.), Rachele Cerrone (So.), Carly Pierce (So.), Katrina Hartman (Sr.), Lauren Alden (Sr.), Erin Ondush (Sr.)

Others to watch Rachel Mikols (Fr.), Abbie Smith (Fr.), Zoe Strickland (Fr.)

Strengths The Tigers have a very solid top three. Yost was fifth in Class AAA districts last year. Cerrone and Pierce were 12th and 16th, respectively. That should be good enough to beat most teams in the Colonial League and proably will be enough to get the team into the top two at districts, which would earn the Tigers a state berth.

Weaknesses Northwestern graduated three runners that were usually in the top five in Boehm, Kemmerer and Sarnicky. The team needs at least two or three people to get into the top five and score some points before opponents sneak up and win dual meets with depth.

Quotable "We're not as deep as other years. We have a good six, but after that there's a pretty big gap. We have to close that gap. If we're going to be a lot of teams, we're going to have to beat them up front by going 1-2-3 on them," 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 17-9 overall (17-9 CL)

Key losses Samantha Corcoran (PIAA State meet qualifier), Rachel Barnett, Aimee Oertner

Key returnees Rachel Hendrix (Sr.), Samantha Pryor (Sr.), Bryanna Tomkins (Sr.), Abbey Sauerwine (Jr.), Nina Schnyder (So.)

Others to watch Lindsay Buskirk (Sr.)

Strengths The Bulldogs have three runners returning Hendrix, Tomkins, Sauerwine who performed very well last season and have that district meet experience under their belt. Those Bulldogs will be counted on to lead the way this season.

Weaknesses The Bulldogs are lost without the likes of Corcoran, Barnett, Oertner, Marissa Fatzinger, Brittani Hertzge and Maggie Sauerwine, who all graduated from last year's competitive 17-9 team. The Bulldogs are hurting in numbers and may have a hard time replacing those individuals.

Quotable "We lost six seniors who made up the primary core of our team last year and we did not get the new bodies we need to replace them. Our numbers are very low and we will need to stay healthy to remain competitive," Head coach Dave Oertner.

PALMERTON

Head coach Jeff Minnich (12th season)

Assistant coaches Kurt Eckhart

League Colonial League

Classification AA

Last year's record 5-20 overall (5-20 CL)

Key losses Andrea Stevko, Lindsey Pekurney

Key returnees Amanda Mann (Jr.)

Others to watch Jaclyn Wood (So.), Jackie Tracy (Fr.)

Strengths Minnich feels that there is some running talent and experience on the Bombers' roster. Wood was a strong mid distance runner on the Colonial League championship track and field team, while Tracy is a talented freshman in her coach's eyes.

Weaknesses Depth and experience will be a concern for the Bombers this season. The numbers are low unfortunately and the Bombers have to spend time this season sharing athletes with some of the other sports on campus. Some of those athletes certainly can run but health will be a key issue for the Bombers, according to Minnich.

Quotable "As with any season, I am looking forward to seeing how our xc newcomers will fare this eason. There are some athletes that have talent which is nice, but low numbers will also be a concern," 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 12-0 overall (12-0 MVC) Regular season and Conference meet champions

Key losses Stacy Wojy

Key returnees Dana McAllister (Jr.), Kristen Eberhardt (Jr.), Katelyn Slack (Jr.), Samantha Young (Jr.), Stephanie Palmer (Jr.), Abigail Kaspszyk (Jr.), Katelyn Smith (Jr.)

Others to watch Mykayla Biechy (Jr.), Cheyenne Barnes (Sr.), Kaitlyn Coiro (Sr.)

Strengths The Bears have quite a bit of depth on their roster for the next two years. The Bears return plenty from the core runners who have recorded back-to-back MVC championships, including the likes of All-Conference runners Dana McAllister, Kristen Eberhardt and Katelyn Smith. Fair stated that's an added bonus too.

Weaknesses The biggest thing Fair is concerned with with his Ladies Bears is that they have to continue to work hard to be successful. The Bears can't rely on the past success they had regular season and conference meet champions as Fair pinpointed there are a lot of strong runners across the MVC.

Quotable "For individual and team success, they're going to have to challenge each other everyday in practice," Head coach George Fair.

TAMAQUA

Head coach Tom Kanger (10th season)

Assistant coaches None

League Schuylkill League

Classification AA

Last year's record 11-1 overall (4-1 SL)

Key losses Amber Carroll, Kelsey Patrick, Cecily Kohlmeir, Dana Ansbach, Ashley VanBuren

Key returnees Emily Bumbulsky (Sr.), Alexadra Miller (Sr.), Stephanie Gensure (Jr.)

Others to watch Chelsea Frantz (Fr.), Victoria Labar (Fr.), Melanie Kostecky (Fr.), Maria Streisel (Sr.)

Strengths The Blue Raiders will look to Emily Bumbulsky for team leadership, while Kanger believes she has it in her to lead the new harriers in the right direction because they were successful on the Junior High level.

Weaknesses The Blue Raiders have lower than normal numbers this season on the girls team. Plus, the team's younger runners will have to learn the transition to the longer distance as quick as possible.

Quotable "Althought we have a lower than normal number of girls on the team they are allplayers and I know they fight for wins," Head coach Tom Kanger.

WEATHERLY

Head coach Mike Miller (Third season)

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

League Schuylkill League

Classification A

Last year's record 1-4 SL

Key losses Andrea Dietrich, Jamie Dougherty, Tiana Genetti

Key returnees Devon Bizzare (Sr.), Erin Dougherty (Sr.), Suzanne Reigle (Sr.), Katlin Vack (Sr.)

Others to watch Jennifer Weiss (So.), Deanna Campion (So.), Kayla Craver (So.), Kim Harrison (Fr.)

Strengths Weatherly possesses a strong senior core. It is an athletic group that wants to compete and has worked hard in the summer. The Wreckers' upperclassmen (especially Reigle, Dougherty and Bizarre) have stepped up into a leadership role and are challenging themselves and their teammates during the workouts.

Weaknesses Several of Weatherly's runners compete in multiple sports in the fall, which may provide scheduling conflicts especially when the Wreckers have a small team to begin with. Their biggest concern is having the numbers to have a full team at races.

Quotable "We have a very athletic team that has the talent to be very successful and make some noise in our division, leagues and even districts. The seniors especially have put their time in this season during workouts. Hopefully we have a full squad the majority of the races to showcase their hard-work," Head coach Mike Miller.