In Staples running history, you'll see the name Laddie Lawrence a lot.

For 40 years now, the coach who is known just as Laddie, has been the head of Staples running.

After a 15-2 season in dual meets, a third place performance at the FCIAC Championships and seventh place performance in Class LL, the Staples boys cross country team looks forward to a successful season under the leadership of senior captains Dean Hefnawy, David Haswell and Mikolaj Kunis.

"We hope to be more successful then last year's team as our summer mileage was high for many of the returning athletes. However, that may be a difficult task as the FCIAC and the State have many quality teams contending for top honors," Lawrence said.

"We have a strong team this year, but we're going to face some challenges, no season is ever an easy ride. We're going to have to fight to contend against a lot of other good groups of runners," Haswell said.

What will really aid the Wreckers this year is their camaraderie and teamwork.

"We have a very close team with some very strong runners but everything can change when the pressure of a big meet comes along. I know the guys on the team will be able to hold their own," said Hefnawy.

However, they'll have to deal with the loss of five top-flight runners in Ben Aldrich, Jeff Caffery, Kentaro Higuchi, Jack Roche and Matt Wormser. Staples will rely on its senior captains and junior Henry Wynne, who was named All-New England in track last year.

Lady Wreckers rebuild

Last year, the Staples girls cross-country team was 12-5 in the regular season but it lost its nucleus from last year.

Ingrid Johnson was the top runner and is competing for Johns Hopkins. The Lady Wreckers also miss Emily Hanrahan, Rachel Myers and Emily Harris. A bigger loss is Judy Feng, who would have been a junior this year and was the best underclassman last year. Feng isn't back so she can focus on her academics.

Senior tri-captains Courtney Mullen, Alex Popkin and Caroline Smith are back and they bring veteran leadership to the squad.