There's not any doubt that Flagstaff is a running town.
And it all starts with the kids, culminating with high schoolers.
Flagstaff High School, Coconino High School and Northland Prep are all ready to get back to the trails and the golf courses as the high school cross country season is about to start.
Head coach Trina Painter said the Eagles have a very large team chock full of lots of young talent.
"We're looking forward to a very successful season on both the boys and girls sides," Painter said.
The Eagles will be hosting the Peaks Invite on Sept. 1, and the both the Four Corners Meet and City Meet later in September, where Painter said the Flagstaff runners will see a majority of the top teams in the state as well as strong teams from northern Arizona.
"We're not going against our normal teams, but the ones we are running with are our standard," Painter said.
The Eagles lost No. 2 runner Taylor Taite when she moved to California, but Painter said she's still counting on other girls like Tatiana Gillick, Alex Manci and Brianna O'Connor to lead the team.
"We have mostly young runners, but every year we develop them a little further and they all have some experience," Painter said.
On the boys side, Painter named Anthony Spendolve, Joey Pinelli, Bud Anaya and Calvin Worliko as the Eagles' top four runners.
The Panthers have been together training, and head coach Tsosie Taylor said Coconino is almost ready.
"We should be pretty decent on the boys side. We have some kids who ran during the summer, so when we get everyone up to par, we'll be back on track," Taylor said. "Right now, we're just focusing on gearing up for that. And on having fun."
Taylor's top runners are Harrison Thurgrave, Levi Hess and Julian Melvig, all runners who will start running up to par and who he expects to lead the team.
Taylor said the Panthers' schedule is the same as last year, but a big meet is on the schedule right away and it doesn't get any easier.
"We'll put out some good competition as long as we're healthy and can stay in good shape," Taylor said.
Head coach Mike Elder said he didn't lose any of his key runners from last season, and said that considering early practices things are going fairly well.
The defending champion boys team will be led by senior Cullen Hamblin, junior Jonathan Hall, junior Nick Schultz and freshman Ben Hall.
"We don't have a strong fifth runner and that's a problem," Elder said. "Without a strong fifth, we have to try to find someone who will buy into consistent practices and show up to work hard."
The Spartans will attend a meet today at Hopi High School to open the season.
Bill Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 556-2251.