LANCASTER - How do you replace a legend?
Well that's what Marauder men's and women's cross country head coach Josh Villalobos is attempting to do.
Villalobos takes over for the retired legendary coach Mark Covert. Of course, having talented returners might help ease some of the pressure off of Villalobos.
"Coming into the 2017 season we have great leadership on both the men's and women's side," Villalobos said. "Both teams have been working really hard to prepare for the season, with their eyes set on dominating during championship time."
Mariah Theologidy leads the women's team this season and hopes to improve on her 19th place finish at the state meet last year in Fresno. Theologidy, who also placed third at last year's state meet in the steeplechase during the track and field season, was only five places from being named All-American.
Carolina Gonzalez joins Theologidy and will provide veteran leadership as well. Gonzalez finished 46th at last year's state meet on the AVC team that finished 16th overall. Gonzalez was also 10th in the state in the 5,000 meter run during the track season.
Villalobos said the women's team is small but very talented. Brooke Wiggs also returns and will add depth to the team.
Fernando Flores leads a group of talented men which return Nick Franco, Sam Aguirre and Matt Rose. Last year, Flores competed in the Southern California Championships but failed to qualify for the state meet. Following the season Covert said about Flores, "he'll run very well next season. I'll be surprised if he doesn't make the state meet."
Both teams open their season today in Oxnard at the Oxnard Invitational.