WEST LAFAYETTE -- The Ridgewood High cross country team had the misfortune of losing over half of last year's team to graduation. They lost four of their seven runners and that will leave some holes but will also create great opportunities for some of the kids that are coming up in the ranks.

"We"re a young team showing a lot of promise over the next two to three years," said Generals' coach Matt Shannon.

There are five boys and one girl running this year including one senior, two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.

The Generals are led by their senior captain, Travis Vickers, who has been their best runner over the last couple years. He will be depended upon to have a strong season and be a mentor for the younger runners on the team.

Also leading the pack will be returning junior letterman Dakota Crites.

Other runners in the mix are junior Brandon Fyock and sophomores Fred Doberstein and Elizabeth Lintz, Ridgewood's only female runner this season.

Freshman Luke Bucker will be the newest member of the team and will get his shot to prove his talents as an underclassman.

Coach Shannon is optimistic that his team will have a promising season.

"As a group, they are running better and more as a pack," he said, "which will help us compete more when we go to invitationals this year."

After an injury-filled season last year, Shannon is hoping that his team will be able to stay healthy this year.

"Last year we had a full team that had a lot of injuries," he said, "and we had seniors not able to run in some meets due to college visitations."

He also mentioned that he really wants his team to have fun.

"As a coach, one thing I want the kids to learn is to just enjoy running and do their best," the RHS coach noted. "If they do that, the rest will fall into place."

Right now, the Generals have five junior high boys that are very talented and Shannon is very excited for those kids to get experience, get stronger, and be leaders in the years to come. As for this year, his goals are to have his runners enjoy the season and set a strong foundation for the next few years, in which the team looks to be very talented and the sky is the limit with young athletes competing at the varsity level.

"I want us to get in the middle of the group at invitationals, start competing and get a taste for victories this season," the coach stated, "so that during the next couple of years, we can be on top in some invitationals and start being competitive."