No matter how flat the course is, the St. Luke's School cross country teams have an uphill climb as the teams look to increase their roster sizes and compete.

The boys have a full lineup with enough runners to compete as a team. The girls' squad is looking to round out its roster to have enough runners to place in meets. The good news is that, in the past, players who are cut from other school teams have joined the cross country squads early in the season.

And with team cuts having already been made, the cross country team is always willing and able to pick up anyone who'd like to be part of a team. There are no restrictions with this group.

"Last year I got about five or six runners during the first week of school and I'm hoping that happens again," second-year head coach Corliss Spencer said. "Based on last year's experience I'm hoping to pick up some more runners."

What's more, in an effort to draw more attention to the cross country team, the boys and girls will hold a 5K Fun Run on Homecoming Day, at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 2. The Fun Run is open to the community and Spencer is hopeful that the event will lure some students who get inspired to run and, ultimately, join the teams.

"We'll have a visible presence at homecoming," Spencer said. "I think it'll generate interest among the students who are here now," Spencer said.

Spencer said the girls squad, historically, is low in numbers and has struggled to field a large enough contingent to compete as a team. Key losses from last year were graduate Lena Parker-Duncan and Caroline McCown, who now attends boarding school. The boys roster was altered, most notably, by a trio of players who departed to join the football program. Khori Davis, Dave Havens and Jake Archery will all leave running shoes to fill as they switch over to football spikes.

Junior Caroline Hopkins is in her third year on the team and is the girls team's top runner, Spencer said. A captain a year ago, Hopkins will be a captain again this fall, her coach said. Junior Sam Posner is also in his third year with the team and, also a captain a year ago, will wear the crown again.

The teams have a bit of a new look with first-year assistant coach Roger D'Agostin joining the program. D'Agostin has participated in many road races, including marathons, and brings plenty of knowledge of running to the St. Luke's program.

"He's a respected runner -- does a lot of marathons and the kids love him," Spencer said.

The runners begin the season at Brunswick School on Sept. 22. St. Luke's lone home meet is Nov. 3 at Waveny Park. Waveny will host the Fairchester Athletic Association Championships on Nov. 8. Spencer isn't thinking about the championships. She is focused on bolstering the rosters and, in the case of the girls; hSaving enough runners to compete as a team on any given race day.

"My goal is to get to the point where our top runners have the support of a team behind them so we can score as a team," Spencer said.