CHATHAM, NJ - Laura Walsh wasn't just out for a run this summer when she took to the streets of her Rolling Hill neighborhood. She was pushing herself to run faster.

"I tried to go at a faster pace than last summer," Walsh said. "I ran between six and eight miles every day on hills around my neighborhood. I feel like I'm improving and I'm excited to improve even more during the season with my workouts."

The junior ran a 5K in 20 minutes last year and her goal is to get as close as she can to 18:30. In outdoor track, Walsh ran the mile in 5:18 last spring.

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"I think last year she was running in the low 20s and I expect her to break into the 19s," Chatham coach Julie Ullmeyer said. "She's is a very hard worker. She tries to keep up with the boys in practice."

Another junior, Julia DiSalvio, is out for cross-country for the first time, but she has experience in oudoor track, where she ran the 400 meters and the 800.

There is depth in the junior class. In addition to Walsh and DiSalvio, Chatham's junior veterans include Katie Steffens, Margot Cosgrove, Regyn Farnan, Hannah Brogan and Kat Schmitter.

The incoming freshmen have shown promise, too, led by Abbie Bigham, Julie Hamilton and Maggie Schneider.