GREENVILLE — The Greenville Yellow Jackets boys cross country team is less than one week from the start of the season.
The Yellow Jackets begin on Aug. 27 at the Early Bird Invitational hosted by Chippewa Hills.
Greenville returns sevens runners from a year ago, but lost three of its top six in Scott Scripter (now running at Alma), Kyle Reamer and Tyler Tester.
Returning to the Yellow Jackets are Jared Downing (Sr.), Ryan Loiselle (Sr.), Kenny Wood (Sr.), Chris Jacobson (Sr.), Griffen Lampman (Sr.), Jared Milner (Sr.) and Gabe Tower (So.). Downing and Loiselle are team captains.
Wood returns with a best time of 17:57, Jacobson 18:04, Loiselle 18:38 and Downing 19:02.
“We are senior heavy with some good experience,” Greenville coach Eric Nichols said. “We have new faces that will be in the mix of our top seven runners all season.
“Andrew Mason is a sophomore who did not run last year and he has shown the talent to compete. Freshman Stephen Hilliker and Hunter Sorsen could also find themselves battling for top seven spots,” he added.
Nichols said his team ran more summer miles this off season.
“I expect us to be improved in our times versus last season,” he said. “We have had more kids dedicate themselves to more summer miles than in the past. The O-K Bronze is such a strong cross country division that we will have to earn any place we get this fall in conference jamborees.
“We need to get stronger with our middle mile mentality,” he added.
Cedar Springs, Forest Hills Eastern, Forest Hills Northern, Northview and West Catholic make up the O-K Bronze. Most are traditionally strong cross country programs.
“Last year, the O-K Bronze featured Mr. Cross Country (Connor Mora of Cedar Springs) and a girls team state champion (Forest Hills Eastern),” Nichols said. “I expect the talent pool to be similar this season. We will need to be ready to run each jamboree.”