Dallas Center-Grimes is ready to hit the ground running in its new conference.

The Fillies, who won the past four cross country conference championships, join the Little Hawkeye Conference this season and figure to be a force, just as they were in the Raccoon River Conference. But they won’t be alone. While DC-G was eighth at state last season, the Little Hawkeye’s Pella (seventh) and Grinnell (ninth) were right alongside the team at the finish line.

"This year does present some new challenges, as we are joining the Little Hawkeye Conference," said eighth-year head coach Justin Droppert, who has led the team to three straight top-10 finishes. "We wrapped up our run in the Raccoon River Conference by winning the last four straight conference titles, and we are looking to start a new streak in the Little Hawkeye this year."

The Fillies return seven letterwinners from last season, including six who ran at the state meet in Fort Dodge. Madison Waymire won her third state medal last season with a third-place finish and will be angling for a fourth this fall. She’s also joined by seniors Sydnee Hendricks, Catie Kruse and Emma Bravard, and juniors Sam Liebe and Kirsten Lundy.

Hendricks (sixth) and Bravard (ninth) nabbed finished in the top 10 at last year’s RRC meet.

"They bring with them strong leadership skills, a lot of talent and a desire to be the best," said Droppert, whose team also won its state-qualifying meet.

"We have placed eighth the last two years at the state meet and we feel like we could have been a couple of places higher each of those two years," he added. "This year we are looking to put it all together at the state meet, as the seniors have put some big goals out there for the team."