Can the East girls win their fourth straight state title? How do the North Star boys look without Liem Chot? Those are just a few questions we ponder in our trip around the city.
Coach: Bekka Morgan (third year).
Boys outlook: Most of the varsity squad is back after finishing second at the conference meet and fourth at the Class C state last season.
Girls outlook: Lincoln Christian improved a lot last season, winning the conference meet and finishing third at state. The Crusaders return most of that team.
Coach: Brian Kabourek (seventh year).
Boys outlook: East has a lot of varsity experience, with six of its seven runners back from the team that placed ninth at the state meet last year.
Girls outlook: East has won the state championship three straight years and should again be one of the top teams. The Spartans will have some new varsity runners though after Jenna Muma graduated and Kylie Muma (two-time state medalist) and Hannah Hanger each moved. Junior Izzy Apel finished ninth at state last season. A new runner, Mia Murray, medaled at the state meet in West Virginia last year.
Coach: Brad Rettig (sixth year).
Boys outlook: Lincoln High had a good start to the season, finishing third at the Norris Invite last weekend, led by a fifth-place finish by senior Deshawn Burks.
Girls outlook: Junior Kennedy Bartee qualified for state in 2019 individually, and already has a second-place finish this year, at the Norris Invite.
Coach: Gary Bredehoft (15th year).
Boys outlook: Logan Lebo qualified for state as a freshman last season as an individual and leads a stronger team coming off a good track season.
Girls outlook: A really young squad is led by senior Noel Steinbauer.
Coach: John Snoozy (24th year).
Boys outlook: Senior Dan Romary has been one of the best distance runners in the state the past two years, and started the season by winning the Norris Invite by more than one minute in 17 minutes, 13 seconds.
Girls outlook: Sophomore Ally Badura qualified for state last season as an individual, finishing 42nd.
Coach: Matt Musiel (19th year).
Boys outlook: A new era begins at North Star after the graduation of Liem Chot, who last fall became just the third runner in Class A boys to win the state cross country championship three times. Chot is now running in college at Temple. But North Star had a good team last year, too, finishing second at the conference meet and fourth at state. Grant Wasserman finished eighth at state last year and is back.
Girls outlook: Senior Bri Travis leads a group determined to improve on last year’s finish in the bottom half of the conference meet standings.
Coach: George O’Boyle (54th year).
Boys outlook: Pius X is in Class A again, and is the smallest school in Class A. The Thunderbolts finished 12th at state last season and return six runners from the state meet team — Cole Sellhorn, Thomas Greisen, Joe Dustin, Lucas Steuter, James Dalton and Max Ivanov.
Girls outlook: Senior Kat Tvrdy qualified for state last season as an individual finishing 52nd. Depth should be a strength for Pius X.
Coach: David Nebel (20th year).
Boys outlook: Senior Carson Lauterbach qualified for state last year as an individual, finishing 33rd, and leads six returning letterwinners.
Girls outlook: Senior Corynne Olson was the only Southeast girl to qualify for state last year and is back. Former Southeast and Nebraska runner Elsa Forsberg is now an assistant coach.
Coach: Ryan Salem (14th year).
Boys outlook: The Silver Hawks finished third in the conference and 11th at state last season and bring back Max Myers, Ethan Olson, Sam Antinoro and Wyatt Schnase from that team.
Girls outlook: Senior Bri Rinn is the school record holder for cross country and one of the best distance runners in the state, winning the city and conference meets last year and finishing second at state. Southwest finished fourth at state last season.
— Brent C. Wagner