Sam Wynn returns to head the Coupeville cross country team this year. (Photo by John Fisken)

Sam Wynn returns to head the Coupeville cross country team this year. (Photo by John Fisken)

Fall prep preview / Coupeville cross country

Coach: Luke Samford (first year).

2018: Last fall, Coupeville fielded a cross country team for the first time in 20 years.

Returning letter winners: juniors Catherine Lhamon, Sam Wynn; sophomore Alana Mihill.

Key newcomers: Mitchell Hall, Claire Mayne, Helen Strelow, Aiden Wilson, Eli Kastner, Alexander Wasik, Cameron Epp, Chris Ruck, Aiden Anderson, Reiley Araceley, Tate Wyman, Christina McGrath.

Coach’s comment: “(I expect) everyone to work hard. What we need most is to put our noses to the grindstone and get the work done. Focusing on having consistent days of quality training turn into weeks, into months and into a season. (It) is the key to success in this sport.

“Cross country is sport about camaraderie, inclusion and self-improvement. Yes, it’s difficult. It’s worth it, though.”

Strengths: Young runners with “tremendous potential,” well-coached returning runners (“They know what it’s going to take to get to the next competitive level.”) and an “awesome” middle school program.

Weaknesses: Youth, inexperience. “Cross country is a sport where the big competitions happen in October and November, but the season is won during July and August. It takes time to get ready for high-level racing. I think we missed some miles over the summer, but our raw talent, work ethic and systematic approach to training will shore up this weakness.”

First meet: North Sound Preview at Granite Falls, 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12.