CHATHAM, NJ - The Chatham girls cross-country team knows that it can't just show up for the season and expect instance success. 

"High schoolers are young so they don't always understand that if you want something, you can't just want it in November and think it's going to happen," Stephanie Frost, Chatham girls cross-country coach, said. "You have to want it in June and they know that. They've shown that they want it June, they want it in July, they want it in August. The girls have upped their training this year. They're a motivated group."

With four of the top six runners having graduated, Frost is looking forward to finding out what the young Lady Cougars can accomplish when they open the 2017 season Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Roxbury Invitational. The goal right now is to qualify for the state group meet at the end of the season.

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"I'm excited for them to race to see what they're going to do," Frost said. "Based on what they've been running compared to last year, I expect them to improve vastly. We're going to be much better than we anticipated given that we graduated our top two runners."

The top returning senior is Grace Rubacky and she's joined by juniors Leila Kirton, Leigh McCaffrey and Micah McGrath.

The strong sophomore class is led by Emma Frohnapfel, Moira Horan and Ally Franz. Two other runners who have picked up the pace in preseason are senior Maggie Gates and sophomore Aidan Walsh.

"Our other goal is to place higher in the counties this year," Frost said.