"Last year was a tough year," said Haynes, whose Spartan squad had its 10-year run of league titles stopped and also failed to make it to the CIF finals.
This year, senior Morgan Sheppard, who won an individual league crown as a sophomore, leads a reinvigorated bunch. Juniors Mandy Herman and Jessica Lam and sophomores Molly Scott and Erika Hennon will support Sheppard.
"The girls were just much more highly motivated because of now winning league and making CIF finals," Haynes said. "I've pushed them hard and they've responded well. We're going after it, and it'll be a better season than last year."
For Flintridge Prep, whether boys or girls, success has been accustomed.
First-year girls' Coach Kristin Cohoon takes over a storied program, replacing longtime coach Mike Roffina.
"[The girls] set the bar really high. We would love to win league, we would love to win CIF, we would love to win state," said Cohoon, who inherits a team that finished second in the Prep League to her alma mater Chadwick, won the CIF Division V crown and finished fifth in state. "They're very optimistic and I'm very excited."
Returning to lead the Rebels is reigning league champion Lauren Von Der Ahe, who is one of three team captains. Last season, however, a new Rebel seemed to finish up front during each race.
That trend might continue this season.
"I wouldn't be surprised if we had a very changing lead again," said Cohoon, who sees big things from senior captains Melody Aaron and Renne Chang and junior Kathryn Iwata.
Coach Ingrid Herskind is once again in a rebuilding phase at Flintridge Prep.
Then again, she said that before last season in which the boys' team won its 14th straight league title and took second in the Southern Section and State Division V races.
"We are definitely very green this year," said Herskind, who will look for leadership from seniors James Wooley and Matt Kleinert. "It's going to be a challenge for us to accomplish our goals."