A new high school cross country season begins on Friday for Laramie High School with some bigger aspirations in 2021.

Laramie was a dominant program in the 2010s with seven state titles. One by the girls’ teams, and then six in a row by the boys.

Last year, LHS struggled a little more than was hoped. The girls took sixth at the Class 4A state meet, while the boys were eighth.

The good news is a good core of runners returns to the 2021 squad. That includes sophomore Addie Forry, who was all-state as a freshman last fall with a ninth-place finish at the state meet. Overall five of the top seven return for the Lady Plainsmen and four of the top seven are back for the Plainsmen.

Head coach Greg Schabron is in his 14th season. He feels they’ve got a good front-runner group on both teams.

“A lot of those athletes put on some miles over the summer and quality workouts, so, hopeful there, and they’ve brought some of the younger kids along with them. I think our weakest point is kind of a drop-off around runner four or five, and really to have a solid team, which made those big state runs, is when you had a strong seven, eight, nine, ten. We’ll take this, and we like the attitude, and we like the work ethic we’re seeing this year.”

Two of the leaders are senior Carey Berdensen and junior Nathan Martin. KOWB’s David Settle talked to the duo before a recent practice to get a sense of how things are going in the athlete’s minds. They discussed how the team’s outlook, how training has gone, and more.

Coach Schabron would love to see his squads contend again, but he also realizes there’s tough competition around the state in Class 4A. He expects the Jackson and Natrona County girls and the Cheyenne Central and Sheridan boys to be tough to beat.

Schabron says for us to compete at a higher level, “The kids have to realize that on their non-workout days, or their recovery runs, we need to pick up that pace a little bit more, and it can’t be just an easy-going type of thing. Also, getting away from the fear of when that gun goes off, we can be upfront, we should be upfront. I think that leadership has started to turn the corner the last year or so.”

Even with experience returning, Laramie may not have that star runner or two they’ve seemed to have over the last decade. Even Schabron admits it’s more of a team approach.

“Those kids working as a group over the summer, I would see them a couple of times a week, and it was fun to see. We go to that first week of camp at Granby (CO), and they’re already joking and know each other well. Usually, it takes a couple of weeks into the season to get that going, so I feel in that aspect, the bonding’s already taken place.”

That’s a good sign, according to Schabron.

The season starts on Friday, Aug. 27, at the KW Beartrap Invitational on Casper Mountain.

LHS will not have a home meet this season. The closest will be in Cheyenne next weekend and again in October. They will also compete in Colorado and South Dakota this season.

The regional competition is on Oct. 15 in Casper.

The state cross country championships will be in Ethete, WY on Oct. 23, 2021.

These are the runners on the last roster update KOWB has.

Girls = Carey Berdensen, Laura Brande, Claire Bunning, Winter Burgess, Kieran Burns, Addie Forry, Braelyn Fowler, Emerson Giraldo, Taylor Jenkins, Anna Mukai, Lethe Peden, Lizzie Peden, Leah Schabron, Seneca Shoals, Colleen Sommerfeld, Ilysa Soule, Courtney Turpen.

Boys = Michael Bingham, Cameron Burns, Coulter Crandall-Hutt, Jedidiah Duncan, Dominic Eberle, Emmitt Gray, Mike Guenzel, Dimick Gull, Hyrum Henry, Sam Kaiser, Cooper Kaligis, Nathan Martin, Gideon Moore, Solomon Moritz, Michael Pikal, Kelton Rucinski, Meyer Smith, Lincoln Taff, Jack Voos.

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