The Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) cross country team will open the 2017 season in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) Time Trial August 26 at Council Bluffs.
Head coach Jim Dose has just five runners on the team, three sophomores and a pair of freshmen. Returning sophomores include Molly Eyerly of Winterset, Chasity Moody of Maxwell and Jada Wierck of West Des Moines. Incoming freshmen are Anna Jones of Maxwell and Cassie Anderson of Knoxville.
"This is the smallest team we've had," Dose said. "I think we have a couple of runners who are pretty strong, but I don't know where that is going to put us with respect to (Region XI)."
Eyerly was DMACC's No. 2 runner in 2016 and is expected to lead the team this fall. She is coming off a 21st-place finish in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XI Championship in 2016.
"Molly is going to be really good," Dose said. "She was a state qualifier when she was in high school and I think she is going to be real strong and real competitive."
Moody is expected to be the team's No. 2 runner and Wierck should hold down the No. 3 spot.
"Moody is a good, strong runner and I think she'll make some strides from a year ago," Dose said. "She's a real hard worker and a good leader.
"I think Wierck and Jones will be our third and fourth runners. Anderson has never run cross country before and just wanted to try it out. We're hoping as the season goes along she will continue to improve."
Dose said he's happy with what he has seen in the preseason, but just isn't sure how is team will measure up against its competition.
"It's a good group and they are working hard," Dose said. "Our goal every year is to see what type of improvement we can get from the beginning to the end. It's a terribly difficult sport and we're not going to win a national title or a regional title. It comes down to individual/team improvement."
Following the ICCAC Time Trial, the DMACC cross country team will run in the Bill Buxton Invitational Sept. 1 at Indianola.