Baldwin High's boys cross country team has the credentials.
The Bulldogs have won three consecutive Class 4A state titles, are ranked No. 1 in 4A and have two-time defending state champion Matt Noonan running No. 1.
The 4A boys meet is 11:30 a.m. today at Wamego Country Club.
"Coach (Mike Spielman) has worked us hard the past four years to gear us up for state," said BHS senior Eric Black, one of three Bulldog seniors who have been run varsity since their freshman year. "I'd be pretty disappointed if we didn't win."
Black, the Bulldogs' No. 2 runner for the third consecutive year, would be No. 1 on most teams.
What's it like running behind Noonan?
"That first mile or so when I see him it's really cool," Black said with a laugh. "It's always nice knowing you have that low placing every meet. It helps ease the tension and gives us security."
Noonan, state runner-up as a freshman, will try to become the first three-time Class 4A champion today. He has won 28 of 34 races in his prep career.
Wamego, Tonganoxie and Clay Center are ranked 2-3-4 behind Baldwin.
Mill Valley senior Griffin Lee, a Kaw Valley League champion, could also figure in the mix in the 4A boys meet.
Baldwin also qualified its girls team for state. Class 4A girls will race at 10:30 a.m. Sophomore Erica Ogle, Frontier League champion and regional runner-up, is running No. 1 for the Bulldogs.
"Deep down, she'd really like to win the thing," Spielman said. "It'd take a really great race. Anything in the top five would be really, really good."
Ogle placed seventh at state last season, following a year of doubling as a runner and volleyball player.
"I've trained a lot harder this year and hopefully it'll pay off at state," Ogle said. "Last year I didn't know what to expect. Just running this year, rather than playing volleyball, has helped a lot. I'm in a lot better shape because of that."
The BHS girls enter state ranked third.
Ottawa sophomore Lisa Morrisey, a Huron League and regional champion, is among contenders for the title.
Tonganoxie's Laura Korb and Alicia Stauch plus Perry-Lecompton's Jessica Hildreth qualified for the 4A state girls meet as individuals.
Wellsville in trophy hunt
No. 4 Wellsville, led by Chris Caruthers, is in position to challenge for a team trophy in the 3A boys race, which begins at 11 a.m. today in Wamego. Last week the Eagles won their first regional title since 1994.
"The boys ran great," WHS coach Tim Savage said. "We will need to step up still another notch at state, but we're looking forward to it."
In the 3A girls race set for 9:30 a.m., Hope Inglehart and Libby Fouts will run as individuals.
McLouth girls at 2-1A
McLouth, led by junior Courtney Edmonds, qualified its girls team for the Class 2-1A state meet, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today at Wamego.
Mark Smelser and Matt Scarlett will represent McLouth in the boys race at 9 a.m. today.