First-year head coach Landon Hammer has a young but experienced girls cross country team at Howard this season.

“We have a young group with a lot of experience,” he said. Runners Hammer will be counting on include sophomores Hailey Kizer and Jayden Jaynes along with freshman Natalie Martian.

“These ladies have been a part of the Tiger cross country team since they were seventh-graders,” he said. “They know what it takes to reach the state meet and have the work ethic to get there. It should be an exciting season for these girls.”

His major concern is how young the team is.

“We will have to figure out where the leadership is going to come from,” he said. “There are going to be some growing pains as we get going early on, but I think this group is going to really turn some heads come conference and region meets.”

Last season, three Tigers qualified for the state meet and one was a place-winner.

“On the boys side, we have two young, talented runners,” he said.

Eighth-grader Caden Schwader and seventh-grader Connor Giedd are the only runners out for the team.

“They have little meet experience but are hard workers, and that should translate into some success as we get going into the season,” Hammer said.

Howard will open the season at the John Collignon Invitational at the Madison Country Club on Aug. 27. Action will begin at 2 p.m.

Varsity schedule

August

Aug. 27: at John Collignon Invitational, Madison Country Club, 2 p.m.; Aug. 31: at McCook Central/Montrose Invitational, Salem Golf Course, 4 p.m.

September

Sept. 9: at DeSmet Invitational, DeSmet Golf Course, 4 p.m.; Sept. 13: at Arlington Invitational, Lake Region Golf Course, 4 p.m.; Sept. 22: at Cornbelt Conference Meet, Irene-Wakonda School, 1 p.m.; Sept. 29: at Colman-Egan Invitational, Sunrise Ridge Golf Course, 1 p.m.

October

Oct. 4: Howard Invitational, Howard Golf Course, 2 p.m.; Oct. 6: at Viborg/Hurley-Irene/Wakonda Invitational, Irene-Wakonda School, 3 p.m.; Oct. 13: at Region Meet, Rocky Run Golf Course in Dell Rapids, 1 p.m.