"We're really excited about it," Schimpf said. "They had really great sophomore seasons."
But the reasons to smile don't stop with the returning all-conference athletes. The Tiger Cubs feature a junior-laden lineup with five, but are represented well across the four grades with one senior in Sean Murphy, three sophomores and two freshmen. After losing some good seniors last year, Schimpf is anxious to see where this group takes his team.
"It's kind of exciting every year when you get the changing of the guard," he said. "We have some new faces, so you have to start out optimistic and see where you can go."
The coach looks for good things from Ryan Gillespie and Luke Smith, both of whom were milers for the GHS track team in the spring. He also has high expectations for Nick Stevens.
"This is really going to be the year when he should see some real success," Schimpf said of Stevens.
As a team, the Tiger Cubs aim to repeat their championships in the county and the WCC. They also want to advance out of sectional as a team, a goal made more attainable because Plainfield lost four of its five runners from last season.
Schimpf said his runners haven't written down individual goals, but knows Wilson wants to advance to semistate.
Through the preseason, though, the team has been mostly trying to beat the heat.
"The heat's been something else," Schimpf said.
While the team practiced at 7 p.m. before school started, the temperature was sometimes still 90 degrees.
"There's not been much escaping it," he said.
With the regular season fast-approaching, though, Schimpf saw his team coming together.
"We've done pretty well," he said. "We're trying to start getting into a routine."
A big change for the coach has been coaching only the boys' team this year, with Garry Anderson having taken over the girls' side. Schimpf is now able to focus more on one team, but misses the interactions with the other team.
"This is a change for me because I'm used to working with both the boys and girls," he said. "There will be some positives to that, but I'm going to miss working with them."
The Tiger Cubs open their season at 4:30 p.m. Thursday when they travel to Cloverdale.