New Albany High School cross country coaches Chad and Brian Olinger have maintained solid programs since taking over their respective teams.

New Albany High School cross country coaches Chad and Brian Olinger have maintained solid programs since taking over their respective teams.

That's why they feel their runners will be able to justify the coaches' high expectations for this season.

The Olingers, who are cousins, are pleased with the way their teams have started.

"I'm happy," boys coach Chad Olinger said. "We haven't put it all together in a meet yet and that's completely fine being early on (in the season), but I'm very pleased. I feel like we have a very talented team."

The boys team opened by finishing second (70) in the 14-team New Albany Classic on Aug. 24, behind first-place Central Crossing (40).

Senior Sebastian Matt, a four-year runner, led the Eagles by finishing second in 16 minutes, 35 seconds, behind winner Tsehaye Hiluf of Reynoldsburg (16:02).

The Eagles' depth this season was evident when freshman Zack Buck finished fourth (16:52).

Chad Olinger expects Matt and Buck to contend for the top spot on the team throughout the season.

Juniors Austin Bach and Drew Rose are expected to contend for top-five positions.

Senior Kraig Manion, juniors Joydeep Ganguly and Rhyne Vlaservich and freshman Ben Iten also are looking to contribute.

"We have 12 kids battling for seven spots, which is good," said Chad Olinger, who is in his fourth season.

Manion was 18th (18:29) and Iten was 22nd (18:40) in the opening meet.

New Albany was 11th (259) in the 15-team Panther Division of Pickerington Classic at Pickerington North on Aug. 27, behind first-place Hilliard Bradley (59).

Bach finished 27th (17:33).

The Eagles finished eighth (170) in the 11-team Asics-Hot Summer Bash at Bradley on Sept. 3, behind first-place Hilliard Davidson (78).

Buck was sixth (16:23.8) and Matt placed 11th (16:45) as Hiluf again was first (15:34.2).

Bach was forced to leave the race because of heat exhaustion.

"If you would have plugged Austin in, it would have been a different story, but it's early," Chad Olinger said. "He's been battling a little bit of sickness and then with combination of the heat it was a little too much."

Last season, Matt turned in a personal-best 16:10.7 to finish 44th in the Division I state meet at Scioto Downs, helping the Eagles place 11th (249) behind champion Louisville (125).

Blake Taneff, a 2011 graduate, finished 14th (15:44.8) at state, while Bach was 91st (16:37.3) and Rose was 126th (17:12.5). It was New Albany's second consecutive state appearance.

The Eagles are seeking their third consecutive OCC-Capital Division title after finishing ahead (43) of runner-up Watkins Memorial (55) in the league meet last season.

New Albany (42) won its second consecutive district 2 title, finishing ahead of second-place Reynoldsburg (48). New Albany was fourth (125) at regional, behind first-place Westerville North (69).

"Our goals don't change," Chad Olinger said. "We want to be OCC champs and we want to get back to the state meet."

•Junior Mirra Galbreath returns to the lead the girls team.

Last season, Galbreath finished 31st (18:53) in the Division I state meet.

The Eagles (56) opened by winning the New Albany Classic, finishing ahead of runner-up Upper Arlington (84) as Galbreath was third (20:17). Sophomore Catherine Ralston was fifth (21:20) and senior Bryana Zuiderweg was eighth (21:48).

New Albany was seventh (256) in the Pickerington Classic, behind first-place Thomas Worthington (138).

Freshman Camilla Suarez placed 26th (21:47).

Galbreath was 11th and Suarez was 13th (20:38.50) in the Asics-Hot Summer Bash at Bradley, as the Eagles finished fifth (119) in the 10-team event behind first-place Mason (30).

"I thought we had a solid meet," said Brian Olinger, who is in his second season. "It wasn't lights out, but it was definitely something we can build off of. My girls are training really hard right now and I don't doubt that their legs are pretty heavy. We're really loading up on some training. It's not an excuse, but November is certainly a long ways away. The goal is definitely to make the state meet. You can't be totally on your game at the beginning of September when November is the focus."

Olinger expects junior Elissa Burack, sophomores Eliza Matt, Lexi Simpson and Kenia Viezcas and freshman Karrington Winters to contribute.

Last season, the Eagles (34) won the district 1 title, finishing ahead of second-place Dublin Scioto (66) after they were second (59) behind Mount Vernon (57) in the OCC-Capital meet. New Albany finished sixth (148) at regional behind first-place Toledo Notre Dame Academy (87); the top four teams advanced to state.

"Our goals are winning the OCC title, defending our district title and getting to the state meet in November," Brian Olinger said.