It is the middle of March, their season has not even started yet and already Southwest Junior High's track and field team is looking forward to the season-ending Bulldog Relays.
The Bulldogs are used to winning the relays - considered Lawrence's junior high city championship. The Southwest boy's and girl's squads swept the event eight straight years before last season.
The girls won their ninth straight championship in 2006, but last year the Bulldog boys had an unfamiliar finish to their season when South's boy's team captured the Bulldog title.
"We had, by our standards, an average season last year," said coach Skip Bennett. "We win the city championship pretty regularly.
"Last year South took it away from our boys. So we'd like to get that back this year."
That sentiment is felt throughout the team and freshman Kirk Resseguie, who Bennett believes will be the team's standout freshman performer this year, said the Bulldog boys are focused on taking back the city title.
"We're all trying to get that back. We were all really disappointed about that (South championship last year)," Resseguie said. "We're going to try our best."
The city championship might be the focus, but the Bulldogs have other goals this season.
"We want to try and win that Bulldog Relays meet every year and on a more individual basis, their goals are to improve in the class and in track," Bennett said. "We don't let them run unless they're caught up with all their work in all their classes."
Bennett makes sure the Bulldogs improve athletically by giving the athletes a progress log to keep track of time or distance for every event they compete in. "The next time they practice, or compete or do anything in that event they try to improve their time (or distance)," he said. "The only person they compete against is themselves."
When Resseguie looks at his progress log, he is not only looking to beat his personal bests, but also hoping to set a new Southwest record.
"I basically stick with sprinting stuff. My favorite event is the 400, and I'm going to try to break that record this year," Resseguie said. His personal best in the 400-meter dash is 54.3 seconds and the school record is 53.7.
"I just really want to beat that record before I leave Southwest. It's going to be really hard," Resseguie said. "The 400 is the toughest event, I think."
Bennett knows what to expect from his motivated top athlete, but judging the strengths of younger team members can be difficult in the preseason.
"I can remember what they did last year, but with this many kids it's hard to do," the coach said. "We don't really know anything for sure until we put a watch on them."
The main way Bennett and the other Southwest coaches solve that problem is by holding a practice meet for their Bulldogs the day before spring break. They do not simulate all the events, but it gives the kids an opportunity to run and get times and the coaches have time to evaluate the numbers the athletes post in the exhibition.
"When they come back from spring break they're kind of nestled into a few events and we make adjustments from there," Bennett said.
With two weeks of practice under their belts, Resseguie likes what he has seen thus far. "I think we've got a really good track team," he said. "I hope we'll win the city (title) because we don't have a lot of freshmen this year, and I just hope we pull it out strong at the end."
Southwest will compete in seven meets before it gets a chance to reclaim the city track throne at the Bulldog Relays April 25.