Hoffman Estates lost three-time all-state cross country runner Haley Goers to graduation, but the Hawks didn't miss a beat in its season opener.
Sophomore Alondra Aguirre (19:32) and junior Solome Haile (19:40) went 1-2 in leading the Hawks to an impressive 15-43 Mid-Suburban League crossover victory over visiting Prospect at Barrington Pond on Tuesday.
Hoffman swept the top five spots in putting a crunch on the defending MSL champions.
"Whenever you come and race Hoffman, we're ready to race," said Hoffman Estates coach Kirk Macnider. "This next group is ready for its turn -- it's their time."
Janki Patel (19:45), Yesenia Nunez (20:09), and Brianna Anderson (20:15) completed the scoring for the Hawks' attack.
Aguirre and Haile set the tone early and pushed the pace from wire to wire. Those two Hawks know they have some big shoes to fill, but they are ready.
Last year Aguirre and Haile both made all-MSL with top 25 finishes at the conference meet, but they know they'll have to elevate their performance this year.
"Even though Haley is gone, we know we have to fill in her shoes," Haile said. "Last year me and Alondra were running behind Haley (Goers) and watching her every move, because we knew it would be our turn this year."
"We are all mentally prepared," said Aguirre. "We're ready to run."
Prospect was running more of a tempo run on Tuesday, but the Hawks at least got the Knights' attention.
Senior Lauren Poplawski (20:29) and senior Brooke Wolfe (20:29) took sixth and seventh place to lead the Knights' attack.
Wolfe has won back-to-back state medals and is also the two-time defending MSL champion. The senior is not ready to panic and knows her team will be ready for future battles.
"We are hoping for the best and looking to improve on last season," said Wolfe, whose team finished fifth in Class 3A. "We have different ways in reaching our goals; we just have to keep improving."
Junior Katrina Leeney (20:44), sophomore Ellen Siefke (20:44), and junior Rachel Henk (20:45) took ninth, 10th and 11th place for the Knights.
"We gave each of the girls a pace to run, and they did a good job," said Prospect coach Dave Wurster of his team's approach to the meet.
"But it just doesn't show when you go against a good team."