"I think we will be competitive," head coach Andy Wise said. "We know that Cloverdale will be the ones to beat, but I suspect we will be a tough team too. We just want to compete well each time we go out."
Leading the Eagles will be seniors Bailey Birt, Meghan Canary, Cassie Davis and Shannon Egold. Returning letter winners include Canary, Davis, Egold and sophomore Jessica Thompson.
South Putnam will be lead by two senior captains but Wise believes the team has good leadership throughout.
"The team elected Canary and Egold as captains, but I really do look to all of the seniors for leadership. I am blessed with a squad full of responsible, hard-working individuals, and I think the seniors especially can be counted on to set a solid example for our underclass runners," Wise commented.
When sizing up their competition for the upcoming season, South Putnam turns its eyes to the south.
"Cloverdale returns everybody, as far as I know. That should concern any of the girls cross country coaches in the WCC," Wise said.
Wise also commented on the closeness of his team and how he believes that will translate onto the course.
"Togetherness is the main strength," Wise commented. "These girls relate to each other very well, and I feel that they will work harder for one another because of that."
South is hoping the unity to display on the course will translate into wins and help the achieve their ultimate goal -- putting three championships in their pocket.
"The big three (goals) are to win County and Conference and then to qualify for regional. Past that, we'd like to win an invitational or two, particularly if we could bring the Eagle Medley championship back home," Wise commented.
Due to conflicting schedules, the Eagles didn't have the opportunity over the summer to get in as much team time as they would have liked to, but Wise believes his squad will be more than competitive.
"We had so many girls with conflicting activities in the summer that it's hard to build a good base then, so I think right now we are in a critical time of the season as far as building that base," Wise observed. "The other thing that I think is really critical for our girls is to simply believe in themselves and in the hard work they've been doing so that when it comes time to race the big races, they haven't beaten themselves mentally.
"If we can get the right mental approach, I think we could be pretty competitive at the end of the season," Wise concluded.
South Putnam will travel to Danville to compete in the Hokum Karem at 9 a.m. Saturday.