With virtually its entire team back, including a state champion, the Carson High girls cross country team again has lofty goals for the upcoming season.
But the competition also figures to be as tough as ever. In addition, Carson High's boys hope to return to its usual position of going to the state championships after missing the state meet last season.
"We are looking pretty strong," said Carson coach Jason Macy, who has 40 athletes out this year for the boys and girls programs.
Carson's girls finished fourth last year, with the highlight coming when Shanna Sparks won the state title as a sophomore. Sparks was a state runner-up as a freshman.
The favorites again in Northern Nevada figure to be Reno and South Tahoe. Centennial of Las Vegas also returns its entire team that won the state title last year.
But this year's state meet will be in Reno at an altitude near 5,000 feet, which should give the Northern schools an advantage.
"I think we have the makings of a state team," said Carson coach Jason Macy about the girls team contending for a state title. "We're pretty excited. We think we've got some talent.
"We're pretty hopeful. Obviously we're going to be gunning for South Tahoe and Reno."
A key to a state run will be a healthy Sparks and Cassia Roth, who looked strong last year, but battled injuries. Roth was healthy in the spring and had an outstanding track season. Sparks battled injuries during the track season, but now looks healthy as well.
"She's looking stronger and stronger each day," said Macy about Sparks.
"Cassia has really improved," Macy said. "She's running better than ever."
Other top returners include senior Megan Zahnter, Sara Shaw, Lindsay Dorio and Janine Stone.
Macy said there are several freshmen who look strong, including Sheena Bonaldi, Emily Johnson, Ali Marson and Amanda Benson.
Carson's boys have received a lift with the addition of Josh Corder, who has come from Idaho. Macy said Corder has looked as strong as Carson's top two runners, Jeffrey Martin and Andrew Pederson.
Other top runners should include Brian Rebholtz Matt Henry and Brett Anderson. Top freshmen include John Parmenter and Doug Holderman.
Reno and South Tahoe also figure to be Northern Nevada's top teams in the boys division. Macy said his boys team could be in a race for the third and final spot from the North to qualify for the state meet. Among the other schools who should be competing for a state spot, include Galena, Macy said.
"We want to get back on track and make sure we get back to state," said Macy about the boys team, which missed the state meet for the first time in a long time last year. "I think our main goal is just to make sure we get to state. We're coming along pretty strong with the boys."
Macy said he's been pleased with the work ethic of his athletes. "A lot of them are coming in very prepared," Macy said.
Carson will open the season on Aug. 31 in a meet at Galena.