Three state championships over the last three years have placed the Laramie High School cross country teams at the center of attention.

Now it's a matter of dealing with a standard set in place. Can those that come after meet the great expectations set by those before them? After all, they achieved what they sought.

Seventh year head coach Greg Schabron says,

"It's been a great start to hopefully a long tradition."

Schabron knows he has young teams this year, so he's realizing he has to be patient and let these kids learn.

The Laramie girls return three all-state performers from last year's runner-up squad. They are sophomore's Hailey Schmidt and Maria Smith-Lopez and senior Murdhula Baskaran. Along with returning letter winners in senior Ella DeWolf and sophomores Allison McElwee and Josie Whitman, those six provide the core for this year's squad that hopes to return to the top after consecutive runner-up finishes.

Schabron said, "Right now, I'm pretty confident in them... we have some nice talented athletes."

DeWolf, who missed part of last year with an injury, believes their consistency stems from their head coach.

"(Head coach Greg) Schabron really knows what he's doing. It shows when we have we have people coming here from other schools; they drop time like crazy. So, I think that shows strength in our training."

Defending champion Gillette, as well as the two Casper schools, Natrona and Kelly Walsh, are teams that should factor in the girl's team race according to Schabron.

Laramie's boys' team is led by three returning all-state runners in senior Johnathan Freeman and juniors Chris Henry and Jacob Morgan.

As two-time defending champs, Schabron said,

"We're just trying to keep the pressure off them."

Freeman knows that to reach their goal again it's going to take a lot more work.

"We've lost a lot of people that definitely contributed to the team and made us how great we were. We've had an influx of freshman, and a lot of sophomores and juniors that have stepped it up... so I think we just need to train as hard, and harder, than we used to."

The Plainsmen will have to contend with the likes of Kelly Walsh, Gillette and Rock Springs in 2014.

The season begins on the home course Friday, August 29 on the prairie just east of Jacoby Golf Course. After that, the schedule takes them to Rawlins next week, Colorado three times and Rapid City, South Dakota.

The 4A East Conference Championships are October 17 in Cheyenne, while the 4A State Cross Country Championships return to Sheridan on October 25.