High expectations surround the Laramie High School cross country teams, as they start the 2017 season Friday.

The Plainsmen have won five consecutive class 4A boys team championships and return five of their top six runners from a year ago. That includes defending 4A state champion senior Philip Henry, as well as seniors Albert Steiner and Liam McInroy, who also received 4A All-State honors.

The Lady Plainsmen are coming off a runner-up finish and return all but one of their top seven, which includes two 4A All-Staters in sophomores Abigail Whitman and Emmy Johnson.

Laramie head coach Greg Schabron begins his 10th season at the helm of the program. He knows they didn’t lose a lot, but they’ll have 10 total seniors this year.

“As of right now we’ve got 48 kids on the roster and many of them, especially the upperclassmen, have been training pretty well over the summer.”

Schabron said they held a recent time trial to set the line-ups for their first meet at the Casper Invite on Casper Mountain this Friday.

Laramie is considered the favorite in the 4A boys division and possibly a sixth straight team title. Schabron admits they don’t like to look at it that way.

“We definitely have the talent, the strength and experience to try and achieve that goal. Obviously last year was pretty close (12 points), and it wasn’t necessarily supposed to be that close. I think the key this year is we’ve got to keep those guys very healthy… We’re going to have to train very, very smart this season.”

Schabron said it’s not a matter of pushing them, it’s more us having to hold them back because they’re pushing each other. It’ll be about heavier intensity.

Meanwhile, the Lady Plainsmen will also be a contender, as they finished only eight points back of Jackson. The Broncs lost four of their top seven, but it’s anticipated they’ll contend again.

Schabron said, “For being primarily sophomores and juniors, they are seasoned, experienced athletes.”

He’s enjoyed seeing the chemistry from the girl’s team and stated they do everything together.

“They’ve got their goals set very, very high. Second place was good for them last year, but they definitely are not satisfied with that.”

Schabron believes the boys’ run has provided some motivation, but also the way they push each other.

KOWB’s David Settle had a chance to visit with the top three returners for the Plainsmen, Mr. Henry, Mr. McInroy and Mr. Steiner about the upcoming season, dealing with the expectations, all three being state champions and more.

While the schedule begins this Friday in Casper, it also features trips to Rawlins, three to Colorado and also to Park City, UT. The 4A East Conference Championships are in Gillette Oct. 13. The Wyoming State Cross Country Championships are back in Sheridan and will be held on Saturday, Oct. 20.

More From KOWB 1290