This year, the Palmyra cross-country teams have one goal: to make state as both a boys and a girls team.
Head Coach Mike Trausch has seven of his 10 high-school students returning to the team. He also has eight middle-school students out for cross-country this fall.
Several team members put in extra effort over the summer to get themselves ready for the season.
Senior Marcus Kinney “didn't place last year, but he put in over 320 miles this summer,” said Trausch, who predicted that Kinney will have a few medals by the end of the season.
Junior Kris Phillips “worked his tail off this summer because he wants to build on the two Top 15 medals he earned last year,” said Trausch.
Sophomore Zach Hartwick, who missed state by two spots last year, “is determined to make state this year and has backed it up with hard work over the summer,” said Trausch. Hartwick medaled in seven of nine meets last year.
Trausch described sophomore Sarah Vorderstrasse as his “top returner.” Vorderstrasse medaled in eight of the nine meets last year, including districts, and she qualified for state as a freshman.
Freshman Sarah Davis-Kovarik, who placed in the Top 10 in five of seven meets in middle school last year,  “is a competive and strong runner,” said Trausch.
The Panthers start the season on the road on Friday, Sept. 2, at the Johnson County Central Invitational at the Tecumseh Country Club. They run again at the Milford meet on Thursday, Sept. 8, at Riverside Park.
On Monday, Sept. 12, the Panthers travel to the Yutan Invitational at Valley View Golf Course in Fremont. They run at the Waverly meet in Pioneers Park on Friday, Sept. 16.
The Panthers travel to the Ashland-Greenwood Invitational on Monday, Sept. 19. They run in the North Bend Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 22.
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Palmyra runs at Wildwood Lake at the Raymond Central meet. They compete at the East Central Nebraska Conference meet on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Johnson County Central High School.