Boys to watch: Juniors Robbie Donaldson and Charlie Moran.
Girls to watch: Too early to tell.
What you need to know: The Lightning team, which is coached by Jessica and Brian Murphy, is very small. There are 16 boys and only five girls, which means all the girls need to stay healthy so that the team can score.
"This is a building year for the girls. We are a young team," Jessica Murphy said. "They are all freshmen and new to the sport, but they are all very excited and working very hard."
The Lightning boys have a strong core that works well and pushes each other. "We're the strongest team we've had in several years and really looking forward to a great season," Murphy said.
Invitationals: Scorpion Crawl, Bull Run.
Boys to watch: Senior Conor Foley; juniors Gulraize Kahn, Ryan Hermstein and Kyle Levikas and sophomores Michael Bernal and Silas Buk.
Girls to watch: Senior Katie Ogden; juniors Emma Warman, Abby Whiting and Jackie Berges and freshman Abby Warman.
What you need to know: Forty boys came out for the Marriotts Ridge team and they were all keepers. "We're a younger team, so we are going to focus on building on our summer foundation of endurance and speed," said coach Richard Malt. "We are also going to work on running as a team and moving together."
The Mustangs, Malt said, will work on setting goals and moving past them. The plan is to build a solid foundation for the future.
"Many of the athletes have worked hard over the summer, and I'm curious to see how they will improve come the Howard County Invitational."
Invitationals: Scorpion Crawl, Southern (Bulldog), Bull Run, South Carroll.
Boys to watch: Seniors Greg Carmean and Drew Risinger; juniors Andy DeLaitsch, Karl Schmidt and Michael Smith; sophomores Ben Weinstein and Sam Edmondson.
Girls to watch: Seniors Karli Buescher and Hannah Vaughan; juniors Rachel Yep, Chelsea Vane and Marissa Lechmann.
What you need to know: The Viking boys, 50 strong and led by DeLaitsch and Weinstein, are a fairly young team with mostly sophomores and juniors.
"We're looking to have a good year. I think we should have a strong team," said coach Todd DeCrispino.
The Mt. Hebron girls return basically the same team that finished second in the state last year. "The girls ran all summer, where their focus was on logging quality miles. We are continuing this and have added interval training and hills, hills and more hills," said girls coach Paul Ulrich. "I think we will be competitive in all of our races."