Returning for Peabody-Burns cross-country this fall are: back row (from left), Sheldon Wiebe, Josh Klarmann, Aaron Topham; front row, Amanda Pickens, Heather Brooks, Lauren Pickens.
The Peabody-Burns High School boys? cross-country team placed third in the Heart of America league in 2008, third at its regional and fifth in the state in Class 2A.
The girls will be led by junior standout sprinter Lauren Pickens, who is also a two-time state qualifier in the 4-kilometer cross-country distance.
Coach Kim Topham said Pickens will be anxious to return this year because ?a nagging injury caused her to drop out of the state meet after the 11⁄2-mile mark.?
Junior Heather Brooks, sophomore Amanda Pickens and senior exchange student Beatrice Caldarella will also compete.
Because the HOA requires four runners for girls? team competition, the Warriors can compete for group honors.
?They are looking forward to that challenge,? Topham said.
The Warrior boys return proven top-30 runners Aaron Topham and Sheldon Wiebe, as well as senior letter-winner Josh Klarmann.
?Klarmann and Topham will provide the leadership for the team,? coach Topham said.
PBHS will also benefit from two seniors running cross country for the first time: Jacob Simmonds and Steffen Pospiech. Topham noted that Simmonds has been a member of the 4×800 relay teams that have qualified for state competition each of the past two springs. Two freshmen, Zach Preheim and Seth Topham, round out the team.
The Warriors? season begins Thursday at Clearwater.