Dorman knows its road to a second straight 5A state championship will be more of an uphill climb.
The Cavaliers graduated their top runner and last year's individual state medalist Wynn Johnson and will be members of a new-look region which welcomes defending state runner-up Riverside, as well as Hillcrest and Mauldin.
Dorman edged the Warriors 87-88 to claim the title last season. Cavaliers coach Jeff Buys expects the competition to be equally fierce entering the fall.
"Competition is always good to have," he said. "It's always good to go up against teams that are going to push you and that you want to face. Riverside, obviously, was right there with us last year at state. They lost a lot of guys but have such a rich tradition that there won't be a drop off. Hillcrest returns quite a few guys and will be tough. Byrnes is always steadily improving. (Head coach) Kevin (Wyatt) does a great job with them. Boiling Springs is also a very good team."
Dorman will rely on three juniors, Eddie Urban, Jackson Reid and Carter Sexton, to lead the way. Buys said that their experience will be vital for his younger runners.
"They are the three that were at the state meet last year," he said. "We feel good about the guys we have. (Several) of them just don't have the experience running on varsity. We've had a few to step up this summer. We have a good young group. They were strong on our (junior varsity) last year and ready to prove something."
Riverside's motto for this season is "2 points," which relates to last year's narrow defeat at the state meet. The Warriors are led by coach Eric Cummings, who is entering his 22nd year, and will return two starters. They expect to be led by Andrew B. Smith, Spenser Schwalm, Nelson Senn, Nick Boehm and Matthew Littrell.
"(The motto) is all we've preached," Cummings said. "If we pass one kid, it's a two-point swing and we're winning state. Lexington was the favorite, but next thing you know me and Jeff are looking at each other and realizing one of us is going to win it."
Cummings added that he fully expects brutal meetings inside the region.
"You can't take a day off in our region," he said. "We have three of the top 15 teams right inside of our region. Dorman, us and Hillcrest are only (a few) seconds apart. Spartanburg is also sneaking in there."
Gaffney will also be included to round out the eight-team Region II-5A.