Brookfield East boys cross country coach Randall Bucheger feel the Spartans will have talent this season, but it's his team's depth that worries him.
"We are a very good team with a lot of potential, but limited on our depth," Bucheger said. "We lost a lot of quality runners due to 2011 graduation, but we are pretty amazing up front in our top four and look to our fifth man to move up significantly. If that happens, we will be right in the mix at the end of the season."
Returning letter winners are seniors Karl Brandstaetter and Konrad Joda, juniors Brad Johnson and Kyriel Hansen, and sophomores Andrew Pelto and Stephen Browne.
Johnson was a first-team All-Conference performer, and Pelto was second team. East's junior varsity team finished second last year.
New runners to watch include senior Max Kasun, junior Nathan Dillon, sophomore Peter Kuenzle and freshman Ling Shi, Bucheger said.
"We are looking for Karl Brandstaetter to return to form and become a force once again, and Konrad Joda moving his time down significantly," Bucheger said. "Kyriel Hansen has done a lot of running this summer and (we) look to him to be an impact person at the growth of our fifth position."
Bucheger feels the new sectionals announced in July will help the Spartans.
"We are not behind coming into the season," he said. "The training will be better than before, and we should be in the mix at season's end. This should be one exciting season within our conference. I believe we have the best conference in the state once again."
The Spartans finished third of four in their first meet at the Arrowhead Invitational on Aug. 25. Arrowhead scored 28 points, followed by Wisconsin Lutheran (49), East (59) and Pewaukee (105).
"We ran to what was expected early in the season at Arrowhead," Bucheger said. "I think that we will be a pleasant surprise during the season if we can jell."
Johnson finished third in 16 minutes, 30 seconds, followed by Pelto (7th, 17:11), Brandstaetter (8th, 17:12), Joda (20th, 18:36), Browne (21st, 18:37), Dillon (25th, 19:50) and Hansen (26th, 19:59).
"Brad Johnson had a nice race leading us out of the gate," Bucheger said. "Andrew and Karl went out quite a bit slower and moved up nice. Stephen Browne will be quite a factor for us but raced a lot slower, at my request, due to having appendix surgery only a week prior. Konrad Joda was racing near personal-best territory."
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