A common challenge for cross country teams in smaller schools such as those in the 1A classification is attracting athletes to run for them.

South Central High School Timberwolves cross country team probably won’t have to worry about that this year.

The boys team returns four runners, including three who went to state, head coach Victoria Selzer said. On the girls side, eight girls are out for the team. Like the boys side, the girls team also returns three who competed at state last year.

In Cross Country, team scores are composed of points associated with each runner’s placing. In classification 1A, only the first four of a team’s runners count for points, but that isn’t always the case because the Timberwolves don’t always run against only 1A classification teams.

“At a lot of the meets we go to sometimes there's 2A schools there, and so they usually do it five for a team,” Selzer said. “So I still have a full team for both boys and girls at every meet, so that'll be nice.”

At Regionals last year, Selzer said the boys team finished second in theirs while the girls finished won. The boys went on to finish 11th at State, while the girls finished fourth, behind Greeley County, conference foe Ingalls and Wallace County.

On the boys side, the Timberwolves have also added a freshman runner, Selzer said, and that side of the team is full of youth anyways.

"Each of them, last year was their very first year to run at all anyway, and so I'm hoping that this year they have one year under their belt and they kind of know what to do and I'm hoping they'll kind of take off with it this year,” Selzer said. “And then we have one new runner, he's a freshman, so I hope that my other four will kind of take him under their wing and just kind of go off with it and hopefully we'll have a really decent team this year.”

On the girls side, this is a key year because half the eight girls are seniors.

In the meantime though, Selzer said she’s happy to have such depth.

“It’s fantastic because not one person on the team basically is running alone,” Selzer said. “Every single person is getting pushed by at least one other runner, so they're really able to strive and thrive in that environment. They're extremely competitive, so they want to stay up with each other and beat each other, so it's nice."