Lady Panthers win district

By Joseph Garcia

Senior Macy Floyd hands off the baton to a waiting Heather Shaffer after finishing the second leg of the 4x200-meter relay. The Lady Panthers placed third, which sends them to the regional qualifiers. (Photo by Doug Germann)

LAMPASAS – The overall winners of the District 25-3A Track and Field Meet were still undetermined right up until the very last runner crossed the finish line.

But when the points were tallied, it was the Liberty Hill Lady Panthers on top of all other schools with a score of 133, edging out host Lampasas by a mere six points (127). Salado rounded out the top three with 122 points.

“I think we scored points in every event except the 200,” said Liberty Hill girl’s track coach Gretchen Peterson. “That’s what we go out to do and we just let the girls know to give us whatever you can. They did a great job and we had a lot of kids who stepped up big and did phenomenal.”

The meet began on Wednesday, April 11 with the field events, which yielded Liberty Hill four top three finishers.

Junior Cera Dixon won the gold in the triple jump. Her longest jump was tied with Taylor Brooks of Lampasas at 35-1 1/2, but Dixon won by scoring in all of her attempts.

In the high jump, Jessica Green and Madi Sharp took first and second with jumps of 5-4 and 5-2. Sharp also placed third in the long jump with an attempt of 16-4 1/4.

The top three finishers qualify for the regionals.

On Thursday, April 12, the races began and the Lady Panthers were ready.

Liberty Hill’s first track medal was won in the 800-meter run with Susie Kemper winning first running in 2 minutes and 23.29 seconds and Lauren Jackson taking third in 2:28.52. Kemper also ran away with in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:16.70. And Chelsea Cole placed third in the 3200-meter run with a 12:11.52.

Green also earned second in the 100-meter hurdles at 16.05 and third in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 47.45.

“I felt pretty good,” said Green, last year’s state hurdle champ. “I am only going on my third track meet since basketball, so I feel pretty good. I definitely want to do better, but I’m just glad I got through to regionals.”

In the relay races, the Lady Panthers earned a couple of bronze medals, placing third in the 4×200-meter relay and the 4×400-meter relay with times of 1:52.04 and 4:11.81.

“We had some surprises and we had some kids that just took what they were already doing to another level,” Peterson said. “So, you can’t ask for more than that, especially at this level.”

Peterson said she is proud of the way the girls competed and is happy to see a few of her athletes qualify for multiple events at regionals.

“Susie (Kemper) is going in two and Jessica (Green) is going in four events, which is pretty impressive,” she said. “Madi Sharp is going in three and Lauren Jackson is going in two. So, we just have a lot of kids that are really helping us out in different ways and we are really excited about that.”

Coach Peterson feels most of the girls have another level they have yet to reach, due to a long basketball season. The fact they a plethora of the girls on the team are still finding their stride is encouraging for the coaches and athletes alike.

“A lot of people forget that the basketball girls like Jackson, Cera Dixon, Macy Floyd, Chandler Christianson and Jessica (Green), who are all going on to regionals, are three weeks behind everybody else,” Peterson said. “And so their times are obviously not as fast as they can be because they are still moving up. So that’s exciting to see what they can still do. With time and confidence I think their times will continue to drop.”

Regional Qualifiers will be held Friday, April 20, in Marble Falls, with Regional Finals in Corpus Christi April 27-28.