With state qualifier junior Cade Messer and 14 of their top 15 runners returning, the Western Dubuque cross country boys are looking to improve their 12th-place finish in the Mississippi Valley Conference this season.

The Bobcats return senior letterwinners Kale Cartee, Connor Coyle, Matt Gassman, Trenton Hammerand, Austin Huberty, Ben Mulert, Brice Ronek and Noah Westhoff, as well as juniors Messer and Eric Monahan and soph Eli Naumann.

Head coach Mark Digmann enters his 14th season with the Bobcats with goals that include “getting to the top half of the MVC, return Cade to state and hopefully, have some others join him there. To do this, we will have to keep everyone healthy and improve as the season goes on. We have to run what we are capable of running on the same night at the conference and district meets. Our other kids need to have a season in which they improve to be able to fill the shoes of the seniors we will lose after this season.”

The girls team also finished 12th at the MVC meet last season and are hoping to improve. They return senior letterwinner Caylee Hermsen to help lead the crew.

Juniors Delaney Behning, Hannah Fangmann, Lauren Klein, Amelia Klostermann, Mary Schlueter and Macy Simon as well as sophomores Lilly Boge and Leah Digmann also return.

“The addition of two very talented track athletes (junior Elly Burds and sophomore Audrey Biermann) to go with the girls we have coming back should certainly help meet that goal,” added Digmann. “We look to have a good campaign this fall to build on, as we have only one senior on the varsity level at this time. We’d also like to qualify one of the girls to the state meet if they stay healthy.”