Cartersville, Excel Christian and Woodland's boys teams each qualified for state in 2009, but only the Purple Hurricanes made a return trip to Carrollton last fall.
Losing three runners from the previous year's team, the 2010 Canes needed some young runners to fill those shoes, and head coach David Matherne watched a couple of sophomores emerge.
Roger Herrera gradually molded himself into arguably the best runner in the county, winning the Bartow County Championships in September and setting himself up for a chance to repeat during his junior year.
"He ran a perfect race. There aren't too many times you can say that, but he ran the perfect race," Matherne said of Herrera's county meet performance.
Along with Herrera, Lawson Crowe also helped Cartersville remain competitive as a team. Crowe, who did not run varsity as a freshman, may have showed the most improvement of any of the Canes.
"Lawson was not [on] varsity last year so for him to do what he's doing right now is quite rare," Matherne said following Crowe's 28th-place finish at the Carrollton Orthopedic Clinic Cross Country Invitational.
As those two runners broke through for Cartersville, Matherne could count on senior Zach Cravey, one of the Canes key returnees from '09.
"Zach Cravey is one of those savvy veterans that I've always been able to rely on," the Cartersville coach said during the season.
As Cartersville plugged its lineup, other teams struggled to replace runners from a year ago.
Woodland returned just two runners in seniors Cameron Leonard and Colton Wheatley, but the team never came close to replicating the success of the year before even though Leonard posted the best time of any boy in the county during the season.
"I knew it was going to be kind of a rebuilding year for us because we lost five varsity guys," Wildcats coach Rob Forbes said.
Cass lost its best runner from 2009 -- two-time Daily Tribune News Runner of the Year Mason Walker -- and understandably struggled to replace his output, while Adairsville dealt with a depleted roster.
Following is The Daily Tribune News' All-County Boys Cross Country Team for the 2010 season.
Cameron Leonard, Woodland
Leonard may have relinquished his crown at the Bartow County Championships in September, but the senior saved his best performance of the season for his final region meet in late October, qualifying for the state meet in Carrollton with a personal-record time of 16:34 -- which placed him fourth -- in the Region 7-AAAA meet at Ridge Ferry Park in Rome. His PR nearly broke the school record, falling eight seconds shy of that feat.
On a much slower course at the Georgia High School Association Class AAAA meet a week later, Leonard ran a 17:53 to finish 72nd in his second consecutive state meet. He finished eighth with a 17:28 at Woodland's The Run at the Rock; eighth with a 17:29 at the Cass-Cartersville Invitational; second at the county meet; first with an 18:03 at the Cartersville Classic; 94th with a 17:55 at the 70-team Berry Invitational; 11th at the Carrollton Last Chance with a 17:20; 15th with a 17:44 at the Sharptop High School/Middle School Invitational; 19th at the Darlington Cross Country Festival with a 17:15; and fourth at the Ridge Ferry Invitational with a 17:32.
Roger Herrera, Cartersville
Herrera, a sophomore, figured things out quickly during his first season as a varsity runner, helping the boys team qualify for the state meet in November. Cartersville coach David Matherne said Herrera's finish -- along with Lawson Crowe's -- proved key in his team nipping Heritage-Catoosa, 114 to 123, for the fourth and final state-qualifying spot. Herrera ran a 17:26 to finish eighth at the Region 7-AAA meet at Dellinger Park in late October.
He finished 84th with an 18:30.30 at the Class AAA meet; first with a 17:38 at the Georgia Highlands Invitational; 22nd with a 17:39 at the Jesse Owens Invitational in Moulton, Ala.; seventh with a PR of 17:18 at the CCI; first with a 17:52 at the county meet; second with an 18:26 at the Cartersville Classic; 25th with a 19:22 at the Carrollton Orthopedic Clinic Cross Country Invitational; 55th with an 18:37 at the Berry Invitational; and 32nd with a 20:20 at the Pickens Preview in Jasper.
Lawson Crowe, Cartersville
Crowe teamed with Herrera to form a sensational sophomore class for Cartersville. Throughout the season, he was not far behind the team's No. 1 runner as evidenced at the state meet, where he ran an 18:30.66 to finish three-tenths of a second behind Herrera.
At region, Lowe ran a season-best 17:50 to end up in 15th place. He also finished fifth with an 18:04 at the Georgia Highlands Invitational; 57th with an 18:29 at the Jesse Owens Invitational; 18th with a 17:57 at the CCI; fifth with a 19:05 at the county meet; eighth with a 19:24 at the Cartersville Classic; 28th with a 19:39 at the Carrollton invitational; 70th with a 19:05 at the Berry Invitational; and 40th with a 20:29 at the Pickens Preview. Lowe, who did not run varsity in the previous cross country season, continued to get better and better, Matherne said.
Zach Cravey, Cartersville
Cravey entered the season as Cartersville's most experienced runner and throughout the year, he provided Matherne with much-needed veteran leadership for a young team. Cravey finished 22nd with a 19:51 at the Pickens Preview; 53rd with an 18:41 at the Berry Invitational; 41st with a 20:12 at the Carrollton invitational; third with an 18:55 at the Cartersville Classic; third with an 18:32 at the county meet; fourth with an 18:00 at the Georgia Highlands Invitational; 25th with an 18:19 at the region meet; and 170th with a 20:04 at the state meet.
Colton Wheatley, Woodland
Wheatley placed 43rd with a season-best time of 18:08 at the region meet; 34th with an 18:48 at The Run at the Rock; 14th with a 20:19 at the Cartersville Classic; 60th at the Carrollton Last Chance with a 19:06; 62nd at the Sharptop HS/MS Invitational with a 19:19; 74th at the Darlington Cross Country Festival with an 18:28; 39th at the Ridge Ferry Invitational with an 18:52; and 218th with an 18:47 at the Berry Invitational, one of his best season-opening performances, coach Rob Forbes said at the time.
Tyler Bucher, Woodland
Bucher placed 49th with a season-best time of 18:13 at the region meet; 11th with a 19:57 at the Cartersville Classic; 299th with a 19:41 at the Berry Invitational; 64th at the Carrollton Last Chance with a 19:12; 64th with a 19:22 at the Sharptop HS/MS Invitational; 70th at The Run at the Rock with a 19:59; 91st with an 18:49 at the Darlington Cross Country Festival; and 57th at the Ridge Ferry Invitational with a 19:19.
Troy Hickom, Cartersville
Hickom finished 90th with an 18:35 at the state meet; 33rd with an 18:37 at the region meet; 13th with a 19:01 at the Georgia Highlands Invitational; 61st with an 18:36 at the Jesse Owens Invitational; sixth with a 19:07 at the county meet; sixth with a 19:06 at the Cartersville Classic; 55th with a 20:32 at the Carrollton invitational; 63rd with an 18:52 at the Berry Invitational; and 42nd with a 20:32 at the Pickens Preview.
Will Broome, Woodland
In his final race of the season at the region meet, Broome ended up with an 18:38 for 56th place. He finished 59th at The Run at the Rock with a 19:35; ninth at the Cartersville Classic with a 19:25; 336th at the Berry Invitational with a 20:08; 53rd at the Carrollton Last Chance with an 18:57; 65th with a 19:24 at the Sharptop HS/MS Invitational; 101st at the Darlington Cross Country Festival with a 19:05; and 86th at the Ridge Ferry Invitational with a 20:01.
Virgil Gentry, Adairsville
Gentry finished in sixth place at the CCI, one of his best races of the season, as he clocked in at 18:42. He also finished 16th with a 19:00 at the Region 7-AA meet at Georgia Highlands College and 11th with a 19:43 at the Ridge Ferry Invitational.
Logan Rempe, Woodland
Rempe was 48th at The Run at the Rock with a time of 19:14; fourth at the Cartersville Classic with a 19:04; 339th at the Berry Invitational with a 20:11; 63rd at the Carrollton Last Chance with a 19:11; 78th with a 19:53 at the Sharptop HS/MS Invitational; 52nd at the Ridge Ferry Invitational with a 19:14. His PR of 18:47 came at the Darlington Cross Country Festival, where he placed 89th.
Honorable mention -- Adairsville: Ryan Sexauer, Christian Warren; Cartersville: Hunter Myrick, Richard Jennings, Tommy Morrison, Alex Vicente; Cass: James Gunnels, Jordan Morning, Edgar Victoria; Excel Christian: Mason Butt, Trent Gentry, Mason Rudder; Woodland: Carter Barrere, Forrest Mattox, Jake Roberson.