Mackenzie Laska knew he had holes to fill on the Wauwatosa East boys cross-country team.
The Red Raiders lost five of seven runners from last year's sectional lineup that nearly qualified for the WIAA state meet.
Wauwatosa East opened up its 2016 campaign by placing third in both the junior and senior and freshman and sophomore races at the Falls Coaches Classic on Aug. 25 at Rotary Park in Menomonee Falls.
"This fairly untested group has the makings of a great team," East boys cross-country coach Mackenzie Laska said. "Our team goals remain the same, to finish top two at conference and qualify for the state championship.
"The performances at Rotary Park were better than anticipated."
The junior and senior team finished in third place behind Germantown and Homestead with 96 points.
Senior Jacob Collison led the Red Raiders with an 11th-place finish in the junior-senior race with a time of 17:35. Junior Ian Tyre placed 16th with a 17:50, senior Eli Werner was 19th at 17:58, junior Jacob Odrzywolski finished 21st with an 18:05 and senior Jack Sveum placed 29th with an 18:25.
Wauwatosa East's best time of the meet came from sophomore Henry Wellenstein, who took second in the freshman-sophomore race with a time of 17:25. Liam Nicol took 16th with a 19:30, Nate Blischke was 20th with a 19:34, Aaron Van Meter finished 27th with a 20:06 and Nick Bartholf placed 39th with a 20:55.
"This fairly untested group has the makings of a great team," Laska said.