Paul Farnsworth gets excited when he thinks about what type of season the Half Moon Bay High School girls’ cross-country team might have.

The varsity team has six returnees from last year’s squad that finished third in both the Peninsula Athletic League and Central Coast Section meets. The latter finish qualified the Cougars for the state meet.

At the same time, Farnsworth is just as excited about what could be a big year for the boys team, though the boys team lost three runners from the squad because of graduation.

The boys team took fourth at the PAL meet and third at the CCS. However, the team didn’t qualify for the state meet, as pre-determined by the state cross-country committee.

“We have a lot of new comers on the boys side,” Farnsworth said. “We will be competitive.”

The Cougars are scheduled to make their season debut in the first of three PAL cross-country meets on Sept. 11 at Half Moon Bay. The first race starts at 3:15 p.m.

Chandra Anderson and Paige Williamson are the only seniors expected on this year’s varsity. Kylie Freeburg, Jasmine Shaff and Natalie Strohm are juniors with Maddie Hagarty and Anjyu Lee as sophomores. Williamson missed nearly all of last year with an injury. She started at the state cross-country meet last year.

A preseason ranking places Half Moon Bay second in Division IV, good enough to go to the state meet. A top-four finish at the CCS qualifies teams for the state meet. The same poll ranks the Cougars 15th among all teams in CCS, regardless division.

“I think the girls team will be back at the state meet,” said Logan Marshall, one of two Half Moon Bay boys to qualify for the state meet as individuals.

The other individual qualifier, Mitch Martin, graduated.

Though practice began last week, the team was in somewhat good shape, thanks to all the workouts done during the summer.

“The start of the season is creeping up on us real fast,” Marshall said. “I am looking forward to the season.”

The same preseason ranking places the Cougars boys team third in Division IV. This year, the top three teams at CCS advance to the state meet.

It could be the start of something big as now of the projected varsity runners from the boys team are seniors. Marshall is one of four juniors expected to be on the team, joined by juniors John Sorfleet, Chris Jacobson and Giovani Morales.

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