NEW TOWN - It will be difficult for New Town to top itself.
A year ago, New Town's boys and girls cross country teams turned in seven all-state performances while winning both the boys and girls team titles at the North Dakota State Class B Cross Country Meet in Jamestown.
Justin and Jeremy Grinnell finished 1-2 on the boys side, while Jayli Fimbres and Symbria Bell finished fourth and seventh, respectively, on the girls side.
"For us it was a dream season. For me as a coach and for the kids. They worked extremely hard and really deserved it," Eagles head coach Brian Anderson said. "The girls weren't even picked to make the top five, but they stuck together and worked hard all season and worked their way to the top. That was special in itself."
New Town's girls team returns most of its championship roster, including Fimbres (senior), Alvina Wolf (senior), Bell (eighth grade) and Brooke Fettig (freshman). Fettig finished 21st at state in 2008, while Wolf was 36th.
"We are looking to Jayli and Alvina to lead us," Anderson said. "We've got a good nucleus back and I like our chances if we work hard together and stay focused on the end of the season."
The boys team lost three key members in twin brothers Justin and Jeremy Grinnell (graduated) and David Dobbs (transferred to Mandaree), but gained senior Justin Many Ribs, who transferred to New Town last school year.
Many Ribs is the state's top returning runner as he finished third at the state cross country meet last season. In the spring, he helped New Town's track and field team win a state Class B team championship as he finished first in the 3,200-meter run and second in the 1,600.
"I'm already coming into the season knowing I am capable of beating most of the people I will be competing against so that gives me a lot of confidence," Many Ribs said. "I've got an excellent coach and my mindset is pretty strong so I think I can hold my own."
Joining Many Ribs as New Town's top returners are juniors Alex Baker, David Miranda and Mike Young Bird and sophomore Clyde Baker. Alex Baker finished eighth at state, Miranda 32nd and Young Bird 34th.
"Team wise, the boys side is going to be a tough battle. Rugby has all of its guys back and I look for Bowman County and Lisbon to be tough again," Anderson said.
Many Ribs feels they have a good chance to repeat.
"We still have some strong runners and even have some people who have showed up to practice that are improving a lot," he said. "So I'm sure we can still hang up there with the top three."
The cross country season begins Friday for most teams across the state.