The possibility of two teams on the podium is something Laramie’s cross country runners are hoping comes true when late October comes around.

The 2018 high school cross country season begins Friday (today) in Casper, and while both Laramie teams are expecting good results, their main focus will be the end goal of continuing a streak on the boys’ side, while finishing the climb on the girls’ side.

The Laramie Plainsmen have won six consecutive boys’ Class 4A team championships. The Laramie Lady Plainsmen won a title in 2011 and have been looking for one since.

Greg Schabron is in his 11th year as head cross country coach at Laramie High School. He knows the student-athletes have their own high expectations, but he believes it will be a year in which they build throughout the season.

“I think they’re going to be underestimated by a lot of teams around the state. There’s always kind of that aspect where other teams are looking, but I think week No. 3 or week No. 4, if things go as planned, and you never know, then things will start going and that’s where we’re gonna start looking for some confidence from these teams.”

Schabron hasn’t gone and asked his upperclassmen what they’re thinking for the season, but No. 7 for the boys’ squad is front and center.

“You can tell by the conversation and their intensity that they want this. Girls are the same way. Their goals, based off of graduation from last year (and what LHS returns), we set their goals at a state title. We said boy’s top two, top three, and they shook their head. That’s not good enough, they want (the) podium.”

Despite the loss of three great seniors, two of which were state champions individually, Schabron admitted the cupboard’s not bare.

Leading the way for the six-time defending champs are returning All-Conference seniors Derk Lyford and Jordan Tangeman, as well as junior Mason Swingholm.

The Lady Plainsmen didn’t lose a single runner from last year’s state runner-up team. They are led by junior All-State performers Abigail Whitman and Emmy Johnson, plus senior All-Conference runner Allison Dodds.

Dodds and Swingholm joined KOWB’s David Settle for a preview of the season. They talked about the students’ expectations or goals and how the squads look before the conversation turned to some off-beat items.

Schabron thinks it could be a little role reversal this year with the girls as favorites and the boys as a dark horse.

“I hate to say this, but I kind of hope so because the girls are good every year, but kind of just in the shadow of the boys. It’s about time that they get some recognition.”

He is also confident in how things may play out.

“I think with the leadership of the returning kids, whether they be sophomores and juniors or seniors, I think everything’s set up well for this year, so we’re excited as a staff.”

Schabron wasn’t entirely sure where the toughest competition may come from, meaning which school, but he knows the Cheyenne Central girls and Sheridan boys are typically tough, plus Natrona County and Rock Springs from the west usually have good teams.

Laramie opens its season Friday (today) at the Casper Invitational. They will also compete in Colorado and South Dakota as the season progresses. The conference meet and the state championships are both in Sheridan on back-to-back weekends, Oct. 12 and then Oct. 20.

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