There is a sense of urgency but not panic among the members of the senior-heavy Germantown boys cross-country team this fall.
The Warhawks, who won both the freshmen/sophomore and junior/senior races of the Menomonee Falls Coaches' Classic on Aug. 25, have six seniors among their top seven runners.
Second-year coach Harris Jones is optimistic not only now but into the future.
"We have about 47 kids out this season, including a very big freshmen class and a big group of sophomores," he said. "The numbers just swelled after last season. We'll have some work to do after this season, but we'll be OK."
Based on the results from Falls, they should be
The Warhawks lost their top two runners to graduation from the team that finished 12th at the WIAA state meet last fall but will likely not skip a beat this fall.
The senior group includes Dylan Ayer, Jake Garvey, Westin Feltz, Joe Biesel, Ben Cincotta and Evan Adair. Junior Jacob Reiner has made great improvements so far and will also be among the top performers on the team.
"I was really happy how they came in," said Jones. "This has been a group that has worked its way through the ranks, and they want to continue the success they had last year."
In that Falls age-group meet, the junior/senior Warhawks turned in a 54-point total to beat defending North Shore Conference champion Homestead. (59). An asterisk can be put next to the win, as the Highlanders' top returning runner, all-stater Drew Bosley, is a sophomore, and there was a separate race for freshmen and sophomores.
Ayer and Garvey ran together in this race and finished sixth and seventh, respectively, on the 5,000-meter layout in 17:14 each. Feltz was ninth (17:31), while Biesel was 14th (17:50) and Reiner 18th (17:56). Others running were Cincotta in 20th (18:02) and Adair in 24th (18:10). Jones said Reiner was 1½ minutes faster at this meet this year than he was last year.
"This was most encouraging," he said. "It was a serious breakthrough as compared to last year."
The freshmen/sophomore group also made inroads at this meet as they edged Waukesha West, 80-83, for the title. Top performers for this group, sophomore Sean Drinan and freshman Ben Schnoor, look like they will be solid contributors to the full varsity team this fall, after they took fifth (18:19) and sixth (18:19), respectively.
Freshmen Jimmy Koel in 19th (19:34) and Jacob Hefle in 24th (20:01) and sophomore Ethan Espisito in 26th (20:06) also had good days for Germantown.
"My goal for the group as a whole is to hopefully carry on the success we had last fall," Jones said. "Depth will definitely be our friend this season."
The Warhawks will be at the West Allis Central Invite at McCarty Park on Friday, Sept. 2.