Seeing 48 runners at Monday's practice left Firebirds coach Steve Heffernan elated at the turnout, the highest in the program's short history.
"And we may top that by the end of the week," Heffernan said.
The FSHS girls squad is senior-heavy, with 10 upperclassmen back, including the entire varsity team. Heffernan said his boys' team might be down some after last year's third-place finish, but he said he expected good things from his young runners.
The Firebirds' first meet is the Overland Park Aquinas Invitational Sept. 7.
Free State's season begins Aug. 29 at Prairie High Golf Course in Olathe, the course where the Class 6A meet will be held in October. With that in mind, coach Steve Grant hopes to see his team back there come late fall.
"I hope we get a chance to see the course again," he said.
With nine golfers at Monday's practice six fewer than last year Grant said his team would depend on its upperclassmen for consistency. With just one freshman out so far, he also wants to boost those numbers for upcoming seasons.
Firebirds coach Jason Pendleton had more than 60 players at Monday's practice, numbers that rival any other Free State team in sheer size.
But for Free State to improve on last year's 12-6-1 mark, the Firebirds will have to replace departed goal scorer Nick Ens.
Pendleton has a large young crop of players, but until the Firebirds' first game against KC Washington on Sept. 10, he'll have to figure out how those players mesh with his upperclassmen.
Senior Emily Wang, the returning No. 1 singles state champ, leads the Firebirds' singles' lineup. It's the rest of the FSHS squad that coach Jon Renberger isn't certain about.
"We've got the girls at singles," Renberger said. "But our young girls are coming along."
With 28 girls at Monday's practice, Renberger said that's an ideal number for his team, which will begin its season Aug. 31 at the Collegiate Invitational.
Coach Nancy Hopkins plans to have the Firebird teams finalized Wednesday, but only after former Free State and Lawrence teacher Kelly Petry's funeral that afternoon.
Practice will start at 6 p.m. that night, with teams picked two hours later.
Hopkins, who has to replace four starters from last year's 24-11 team that won the Sunflower League title, expects a lot from seniors Jamie Lisher and Linsey Morningstar.
"We're going to be young, but we're going to have a strong class coming up," Hopkins said.
FSHS begins its season Sept. 7 at the Johnson County Community College Tournament.