The Panthers will be led by Dylan Bice, who returns for his senior season.
Bice was the county champion in the mile in track and is also a standout cross country runner.
“I think he’ll definitely go to the semistate this year,” Pioneer coach Wes Carden said. “He had a great track season and ran in the 4:30s in the mile. So he’s in pretty good shape.”
Juniors Jonathan Phillips and Tyler Carden are also back for the Panthers, as are sophomores Jacob Van Horn and Jared Stenser. Freshmen Matt Williams and Cohen Nies will also give the team a boost.
Last year the Panthers finished third at the Midwest Conference meet and only three points separated them, North White and Tri-County at the top. Carden is hoping the addition of Williams helps the Panthers get over the hump at the conference meet this year.
The Kings have Nathaniel Abney and Austin Hoch back for their senior seasons. Sophomores Dartanyan Abney, Lucas Bowman and Brady Bryan also return.
They also expect to get a boost from talented freshmen Nolan Sharpless and Caleb Brown.
“We’re still in the process of building endurance and getting stronger,” Cass coach Don Bonsett said. “We’ll probably take our licks at the beginning of the year but we’ll try to be stronger by the end of the season.”
Beau Wicker is the sports editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.