By Joseph Garcia
Liberty Hill track and field athletes who qualified for the Region IV Meet will head to Corpus Christi Thursday, April 26, to fight for the right to compete in the State Meet in Austin.
The Panthers will send 20 total athletes to the coast to accompany Coaches Jimmy Duncan and Gretchen Peterson. Seven boys and 10 girls will make the journey along with three alternates to the Region IV championships April 27-28.
Liberty Hill is coming off their “practice” meet called the regional qualifier held in Marble Falls Friday, April 20. Coach Peterson said it was a good warm-up for the real deal in this shortened track season.
“I think it was just good to have another round of competition,” said Peterson. “We just kind of treated it like another workout. That’s all we really wanted out of (regional qualifiers). It was defiantly good for the basketball girls and everyone really.”
On the boys side, Brian Cantwell, Cameron Cardwell, Nik Crozier, Jadon Durity-Boatright, Mitchell Germann, John Spurgeon and Andrew Waller-De la Rosa will travel. The alternates for the boys are Justin Webb, Zack Stiles and Bo Simpson.
Making the trip for the girls are Chelsea Cole, Cera Dixon, Jessica Green, Lauren Jackson, Susie Kemper, Madi Sharp, Chandler Christianson, Macy Floyd, Heather Shaffer and Maria Rodriquez.
Coach Peterson said all of the track and field athletes look ready to compete and fared well in Marble Falls, but the District Meet certainly took a toll.
“District takes so much out of you emotionally and physically,” she said. “We know there is still room for improvement and that we have to show up and continue to work and get ready for this weekend. But the effort was there.”
With the boys taking third and the girls winning first place, the teams are feeling good and come into the Regional Meet on a high.
However, with that said, Duncan and Peterson are making sure both the boys and girls know that all that matters is this coming weekend’s performance.
“We know where we need to be and what we need to do,” Peterson said. “It’s exciting and it’s fun to be there, but the season’s not over. You still have to show up and get ready to compete. There are expectations and we want to fulfill those. But, the bottom line is that you put all this work in all season and it’s time to let that pay off. It doesn’t really matter what you ran at district, it just matters what you do that day and in that moment against a whole different group of competition. So, it’s a whole new ballgame.”
The Panthers are no strangers to success. And with mostly seniors and juniors heading to Corpus, experience is a factor Liberty Hill’s athletes should use to their advantage.
And while it is a business trip to the coast, Peterson said they will find a happy medium of fun and work.
“We’ve been very fortunate (winning) has been happening here in Liberty Hill, so they understand (the situation),” she said. “But we will go out and have a fun dinner on Thursday night when we get there and do another dinner before we leave. We want them to have a good experience and have good memories. But, we don’t have to remind them too much that it’s time to work. But we do balance it out pretty well.”