In Kim Topham?s second year leading the Peabody-Burns cross-country program, the boys? team won the Heart of America League, placed second at the Class 2A regional and fifth at state?all in the season following the graduation of 2006 state champion Andrew Topham.
In 2008, Aaron Topham, son of the coach and brother of the former champ, enters his junior year as the team?s No. 1 runner. He earned all-state honors in 2007, placing 20th at Wamego. He placed sixth in the regional and earned his second all-league first-team award.
He will be looking to build on a personal best of 18:16 set at the 2007 league meet.
The Warriors remain one of the deepest teams in the state as the second and third spots will likely be come down to a battle between senior Kendall Wiebe and junior Josh Klarmann.
Kendall Wiebe placed 50th at state, 14th at regionals and 14th at the league meet. His personal best is 18:59.
Klarmann placed 56th at state, 18th at regionals and 12th in the league with a personal record of 18:52.
The fourth and fifth runners also will be capable of scoring well for the team.
Sophomore Sheldon Wiebe placed 55th at state, where he set his personal best at 19:35. He ran 15th at regionals and 27th at the league meet.
Senior Seth Methvin placed 84th at state, 30th at regionals, 35th in the league with a best time of 20:50.
Junior Curtis Frederick missed most of last season with a knee injury, but placed 30th at the league meet with a time of 19:46.
?Curtis came back to run the end of the season with us and will an important part of our team this season,? Topham said.
The coach also noted that Jake Middleton, a senior, has joined the team.
?I am confident after (Jake) gets a few races in for practice he will be a contributing member of the squad,? Topham said.
Christian Schafer, a foreign exchange student from Germany also joins the 2008 boys squad.
Topham indicated that the PBHS boys strongest competition for the league title will come from Berean Academy.
The Warrior girls were not able to compete as team because of a lack of numbers a year ago, Topham said.
?This year it appears we will have three or four runners,? she said. Five are required for a team score.
If a team were to come together, it would no doubt coalesce around sophomore Lauren Pickens, who placed 14th at Wamego as a freshman after running ninth at the regional and 16th in the league. Pickens best time is 17:21, earning all-state honors.
Sophomore Heather Brooks and freshman Amanda Pickens also will be running for the Warriors this year.
PBHS opens its season Sept. 4 at Clearwater.