The smell of new (new what?). A newborn baby swaddled in a blanket. The first time you step through the door of a newly constructed house and the ever popular new car smell.

When anything is new to someone, they go through some growing pains, which helps them understand the do’s and don’ts that eventually teaches them what to expect, how to handle it and how to teach others.

This season’s Woodward-Granger Hawks hope to put those growing pains behind them and focus on the likely new ones that can bring them one step closer to the postseason.

“I think it was a success, and I think our team will continue to grow and develop in the future,” W-G principal Robert Boley said at last year’s final meet.”

Boley was one of the people who spearheaded the school’s desire to create their own cross country team.

Second year head coach Dave Smeltzer is back behind the wheel and judging by his attitude there can be no denying that he’s pumped about what he’s seen.

“I’m really excited about this year’s cross country season,” he said. “Last year our motto was, ‘We May Be Small…But We Are Strong.’ Now this year I got 38 runners with nine returning from last year.”

In the mix, Smeltzer has four returning seniors who the coach feels can lead the team of younger runners this season.

The Hawks will also see a lot of new faces who the head coach continues to praise as his practices grow harder and longer.

“Wow, lot of good athletes in this bunch of kids,” he said. “They all work hard and got lots of mental toughness and got some great strength from freshman through seniors, a good solid bunch!”

The Hawks’ runners were already tested this past Thursday, Aug. 24 when they traveled to AC/GC for their first meet this season. They are back on the course on Aug. 31 at Madrid.

How good the team will be and how far they advance will be looked at on a per meet basis, but one thing is for sure, Smeltzer is excited with the future of this program.

“Junior high athletes keep impressing me. Everyday they get stronger and stronger which is gonna help build this program in the years to come,” he said.”I really enjoy coaching this group!”