Head coach: Shannon Hays, fourth season
Last season: Fourth at Region 7-5A meet, 16th at Class 5A state meet
Key returners: Ashley Malone (Sr.), Lauren Springsteen (So.), Meredith Edwards (So.), Kierra Higgins (So.)
Key losses: Bonnie McKinnon
Outlook: The Lady Bulldogs showed huge signs of progress last season, thanks to a strong freshman class, by jumping from a 12th to fourth-place finish at the region tournament and qualifying for state. Now the group of super sophomores will try to lead a talented influx of freshman back to the state meet, but in a new classification along with the other county schools. “This is by far the strongest freshman class in FCHS history adding to a very solid sophomore class,” head coach Shannon Hays said. Central’s depth showed during the team’s time trials as only five seconds separated the second and fifth runner. Newcomers Ana Neville and Laney Krontz should be names to follow.
Head coach: James Tigue, first season
Last season: Sixth at Region 6-6A meet
Key returners: Brianna O’Neal (So.), Mae McKenna (Sr.), Libby Bocko (Jr.), Katie Schwind (Jr.), Anna McCarthy (Sr.), Lindsay Allan (So.), Kaylee Stilwell (Jr.)
Key losses: None
Outlook: Lambert has some ground to make up before becoming a state qualifier, but first-year head coach James Tigue, who is taking over the entire program after coaching the boys for the last three years, is glad he doesn’t have to work on replacing anyone. This year will be about growth. Sophomore Brianna O’Neal and junior Libby Bocko are talented younger runners who could lead the charge, while Katie Schwind has the legacy of standout runner-siblings pushing her into the mix. “The girls have had a great summer and return all of their top running mates from last year so it should be fun to watch them compete this year,” head coach James Tigue said. “Their goal is to make it back to the state meet and to be one of the best teams from our area.”
Head coach: Eric Herrick, second season; Matt Aycock, second season
Last season: Ninth at Region 6-6A meet
Key returners: Kylee Howlin (So.)
Key losses: Gigi Fulkerson, Nina Carter
Outlook: North Forsyth was the only Region 6 school from Forsyth County not to have a runner in the top-20 of the field at the region meet last season. The good news is that the Lady Raiders return last year’s top runner from region in sophomore Kylee Howlin, who has a preliminary time of 21:31 heading into the season. Howlin was named to the FCN’s all-county honorable mention list last year and has made strides in the offseason according to co-head coach Matt Aycock. “Kylee (has) put in a lot of miles and hard work this summer and has become the leader that will push this team to reach its full potential.”
Head Coach: Terrance Vinson, first season
Last season: Seventh at Area 2-Private meet
Key returners: Lucy Prados (So.), Meghan Jennings (Jr.), Samhita Mallavarapu (Jr.),
Key losses: Maria Carroll, Christina Aufleger
Outlook: Pinecrest has a lot of progress to make following last season. Unfortunately the Lady Paladins lose their top two runners from last year’s area meet in Maria Carroll, who finished 14th, and Christina Aufleger (31st). The good news is that the other three runners from that race are back on the roster and still outside of their senior season, so there’s plenty of room for progress under first-year head coach Terrance Vinson, who also coaches the basketball program at Pinecrest.
Head coach: Nick Wansley, first season
Last season: First at Region 6-6A meet, second at Class 6A state meet
Key returners: Milicent Bergey (Sr.), Kaylee DuPont (Jr.)
Key losses: Savannah Carnahan, Emma Maisel
Outlook: For two years in a row the Lady War Eagles were the class of the region and runner up at the state championships. Only Northview in 2014 and Mill Creek last season stood in their way. This year, in a new region without the Lady Titans to worry about, the door could be open for South to not only dominate the region, but finally take state. Even though Furman-signee Savannah Carnahan—arguably the best runner in the county’s history—has moved on, last year’s third-place finisher at state returns in junior Kaylee DuPont. Milicent Bergey, now a senior, was a 15th place finisher in Carrollton and could also push South upward. “We have come close to winning in the past, and this year the goal is once again to win the state championship,” first-year head coach Nick Wansley, who spent the last few years as an assistant, said.
Head coach: Clayton Tillery, 10th season
Last season: Second at Region 6-6A meet, fifth at Class 6A state meet
Key returners: Liz Galarza (Sr.), Julie Ericson (Sr.), Danielle Duckett (Sr.), Mallory Luskus (So.), Amanda McArthur (Jr.), Stephanie Shea (Sr.), Michaela Harrison (So.), Haley Tillery (So.), Katie Jordan (So.)
Key losses: Kaitlyn Griffith, Dara Niemi, Reagan Poteet
Outlook: After another successful appearance at region and state the Lady Wolverines will look to once again chip at the heels of region rival South Forsyth, but they’ll have to recalibrate with strong runners leaving and many talented runners joining the race. Last season’s top runners at region are graduated, while Reagan Poteet is heading back to Kell after a one-year stint with the West program. Expected to lead the way is sophomore Mallory Luskus, who finished 21st at state last season, along with a group of seniors led by Liz Galarza. Two incoming freshman should make an impact. Isabel Ptacek won the Forsyth middle school championship in the 1,600-meter run, while Kami Muse was a top-five finisher at the same event in the spring.