GREENSBURG — The summer mileage has been put in and it is now time to hit the courses.

Cross country runners have been putting in work for months to prepare for the return of the fall sports season and their moment has returned.

The Greensburg Pirates come in as defending county champions in both boys and girls XC.

The boys team will be searching for their fifth straight regional qualifying year this season. They return off of a runner-up EIAC finish and a 76-24 overall record in 2018.

The girls team will search for their fifth semi-state appearance in the past six years. In 2018, they were the conference and sectional runners-up.

Greensburg will have plenty of familiar faces this year, led by Brenner Hanna and Hunter Butz.

Joining Hanna and Butz will be Charlotte Anderson, Molly Brandes, Olivia Colson, Liz Pavy, Mollie Pumphrey, Emma Wilmer, Emily Mangels, Sophie Nobbe, Sarah Santiago, Sophie Taylor, Jeremiah Cohee, Dylan Gauck, Caden Workman, Jaxson Kramer, Andrew Johnson, Jonathon Ralston, Sawyer Sanders, Sean Slagle, Kole Stephens and Skylar Westerfeld.

Returning head coach Troy Davis has set the team goals for both teams at the same place.

“(We believe) both teams will compete for the conference and sectional titles,” Davis said. “We always want both teams to qualify for semi-state.”

With a new head coach in charge, the North Decatur Chargers are going to look to continue their strong run on the girls side and start a tradition of dominance on the boys side.

As former head coach Scott Johnson has moved on to become the athletic director at North Decatur, boys basketball coach Kyle Nobbe has stepped in to take over the cross country teams.

The Chargers feature three returning runners that qualified for the regional round of the IHSAA state tournament last season in Brandon Gearhart, Jenna Walton and Gracie Osting.

That trio will be joined by Cameron Medsker, Jack Cathey, Adam Mack, Collin Bryant, Lauren Holloway, Caleb Bowles, Owen Geis, Paige Wessler and Andru Warrick.

Coach Nobbe has set a goal of improving conditioning and pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone early this season in hopes to reach the season goal of having both teams win the Mid-Hoosier Conference title.

The team will also be hunting for the Pheidippides cup, which the North girls won in 2018 and the South boys win in 2019.

The young, but powerful, Cougars boys runners will of course look for the repeat behind one senior and numerous underclassmen.

Logan Platt will be the lone senior for the Cougars and will be joined by just one junior as well in Joe Lee.

The Cougars real strength shows in their sophomore class with Trevor Newby, Nick Keppel, Terry Redelman, Tyler Hibberd, Bradley Walling, Josh Shouse and Josh Edwards.

They’ll be joined by four freshman, that guided the Cougars to a second place in the MHC meet as junior high schoolers. Chase Kalli (second at MHC junior high meet), Jack Hamilton, Brandon Walling and Damian Jackson join the Cougars team this year.

A group of four seniors will pace the Lady Cougars this season. Sierra Kalli, Brianna Browder, Tori Storm and Claire Hamilton will lead the way.

Joining them are junior Ali Boilanger and a trio of freshmen in Abigail Collins, Addison Baltus and Elizabeth Flessner.

“We have a good mix of young runners and seasoned runners,” head coach Bethany Fromer said. “Our early season goals are to get in shape, and stay mentally tough, set the tone for team early on and work together. Building team culture is always important. We work hard and play hard. We lift each other up when we get down. Having strong leadership from upperclassman has always been key.”

Fromer explained that their teams’ long term goals include seeing the team efforts improve around the county and conference meets and then advancing as a team/individuals to regional.

All three teams will be in action together on August 22. They will be joined by Batesville at this meet.

Contact: James Howell Jr., 812-663-3111 x 7003; james.howell@greensburgdailynews.com