Brendan White will be among the many Marysville High School students attending their first day of school Wednesday. Three and a half weeks ago, White was among the handful of athletes at the first official practice with the cross country team.

Brendan White will be among the many Marysville High School students attending their first day of school Wednesday. Three and a half weeks ago, White was among the handful of athletes at the first official practice with the cross country team.

In seasons past, the start of school has hampered White's running.

"I would come into the season strong then coast once I got into school," White said. "I'd get too busy. I'm disappointed the way it effected me and I don't want that to happen again.

"I can't slack off. I don't know if I'm going to run in college so I see this as my last chance to prove what I can do."

Tom Borawski enters his sixth season as boys and girls coach and he's noticed the new mindset.

"In the past I've had trouble with workouts," said Borawski, whose team competes Saturday at the Westerville Classic. "This year, they're actually doing a little more than what I'm asking. It's going real well and I'm happy with that. We have a good core group of leaders that have been good examples. Not so much vocal, but they're out there running and working hard."

White and classmate Ben Karn are expected to lead Marysville. Borawski has noticed the duo's "take charge" attitude.

Among the returning runners, Karn had the best time for the Monarchs at last season's Division I, district 2 meet, finishing 34th in 17 minutes, 15.95 seconds.

"Ben will be our top runner this year, although Brendan is closing that gap," Borawski said.

Marysville finished 10th at the district meet with 243 points as Hilliard Davidson won with 45. Graduate Ryan Del Grosso was the lone regional qualifier finishing 60th in 17:20. At the OCC-Central Division meet, Marysville finished sixth with 140 points as Pickerington North (27) won. This season, the Monarchs are in the OCC-Cardinal with Dublin Jerome, Dublin Scioto, Olentangy, Olentangy Liberty, Westerville Central, Westerville North and Westerville South.

Rounding out the boys team are juniors Jim Stammen, Brandon Lewis and Pat Sampsel, sophomores John Applegate Nathan Culbertson and Joe Stammen and freshmen Colby Campbell and Michael Reed.

"These guys are running the workouts and it's going to pay off in the meets," Borawski said. "They're doing what I'm asking and even a little more. I can't be happier with that."

The girls team entered August looking deep and competitive. But three weeks ago, Maggie Helfrich, a top-five runner last season, needed foot surgery and now will miss the entire season. Last week, Borawski found out Katy Campbell, Marysville's top runner at times last season, is moving to Texas.

"Now we have to refocus," Borawski said. "Our goal was to finish high at the regional, and I still think our goal will be to be at the regional and do well there. We lost two key runners, but the girls focus hasn't changed much. It might have been altered, but they're right on tract. This is a pretty determined group."

Last season, Marysville finished fourth with 150 points at the district 1 meet behind Thomas Worthington (62), Davidson (81) and Pickerington North (135). Campbell finished 12th in 19:45.27. At the regional meet, Marysville finished 13th with 323 points as Mason (111) was first. Campbell finished 28th in 20:04. At the OCC-Central meet, Marysville was third with 70 points behind Thomas (28) and Pickerington North (66).

Freshman Brooke Brown has emerged to replace Campbell as the Monarchs' top runner.

"She had a very good middle-school career," Borawski said. "She would have been our top runner even with Katy. Brooke is going to be very good."

Behind Brown in spots two through four are juniors Elaine Dietsch and Brandie Finlay and sophomore Kailynne Tangeman.

"They are going to be the key to our success," Borawski said. "I'm sure they can handle it. They've been running for years and I think they're ready to make a dent this season."

Also battling for varsity time are junior Katie Helfrich, sophomore Mariah McConaha and freshman Malarie McConaha.

"We have to close the gap between Elaine, Brandie and Kailynne and our five, six and seven runners," Borawski said. "That's where we'll score the points."