By PATRICK SLACK
The Little Falls girls cross country team returns its top runner from a year ago while the boys will have to replace state entrant Preston Zimny this fall.
Senior Mattia Hendrickson enters the season as the Flyers’ top performer from a year ago, having placed eighth at the Granite Ridge Conference (GRC) meet and 15th in Section 8AA.
Little Falls placed third in the GRC and eighth at sections.
Chelsea Rutz and Samantha Gottwalt round out the group of returning seniors for Little Falls, with juniors Laura Moe, Lauren Zimny, Vanessa Meschke, Taylor Kunkel and Kaitlin Geisenhof and sophomore Heidi Moe also expected to compete for spots on varsity.
The Flyers also have a group of promising sophomores and freshmen that may join the varsity ranks by midseason, girls head coach Jacki DeVine said.
Seeking to replace Zimny at the front of the pack for the boys team are a trio of varsity runners from a year ago, juniors Sebastian Sowada, Mathew Massmann and Cameron Smith.
Seniors on this year’s team include Adam Maleski, Tyler Claseman, Travis Spillum, Brian McNamara, John Brezinka and Connor Scherping.
The Flyers hope to once again finish in the top three in the Granite Ridge Conference and place in the top six in the section, boys head coach Jeff Massmann said, with the team logging more than 4,000 miles during the summer.
Little Falls opens the season at Milaca, Monday.
The Flyers’ lone home meet is Sept. 13.