Panthers get final tune-up before district meet

Liberty Hill senior Jessica Green flies over the bar in Saturday’s meet at McNeil, where she earned first place in the high jump. (Photo by Doug Germann)

By Joseph Garcia

With the 25-3A District Meet ahead of them, the Liberty Hill Panther track and field teams were afforded one more opportunity to fine tune their skills last weekend in McNeil versus stiff 5A competition.

The meet was added due to the two previous rainouts and was not on the original schedule. Some of the competition included 5A schools such as host McNeil, Round Rock, Westlake, Bowie, Westwood and Anderson.

According to girls track and field Coach Gretchen Peterson, the Liberty Hill athletes were pushed to perform, which is great considering the District Meet began Wednesday, April 11, and ends Thursday, April 12, in Lampasas.

“We were pleased with the way that our kids competed,” said Peterson. “It’s always good to be pushed, and we definitely were at the McNeil Meet.”

On the girls team, some of the highlights included first place finishes by seniors Jessica Green in the high jump and Susie Kemper in the 800 and 1600 meter races.

Green jumped 5-4 while Kemper ran in 2 minutes, 18.51 second and 5:13.76, respectively. Madi Sharp took second in the high jump with a 5-2.

Green placed again (second) in the 100-meter hurdles at 15.69 and Heather Shaffer earned silver in the pole vault with a 9-6 attempt.

Overall the girls scored a 74, good for fourth place in the team rankings behind McNeil (173), Round Rock (173) and Westlake (119).

Coach Peterson is encouraged for the district meet after the girls’ performances at McNeil.

“As far as district goes, it’s time to just step up and put your best out there,” she said. “Our girls know what’s at stake and I never doubt  that they will do their best.”

For the boys, a new Liberty Hill record was set by senior Nik Crozier in the 1600-meter with a time of 4:33.01, breaking a time of 4:36. Mitch Germann placed eighth running a 4:44.36.

Crozier, seemingly peaking after a long basketball season, then turned around and ran the second leg of the 4×400 just minutes later, which Liberty Hill took second place with a time of 3:26.17.

“Nik set the record with a 4:33.01,” said Liberty Hill men’s track Coach Jimmy Duncan. “He ran great.  He then turned around and ran a leg on the mile relay with not a lot of rest time. Many of our kids are peaking at the right time. There were several personal bests at this meet. Hopefully, we get as many in the (district) finals as possible and stay healthy.”

Other notable results include Andrew Waller and Cameron Cardwell taking first and second place, respectively, in both the 800 and 400-meter runs. Their times were 1:55.65 and 1:59.35 for the 800 and 49.08 and 49.10 for the 400.

Germann earned fifth place in the 3200 with a 10:32.67, while Jordan Skinner nabbed a bronze medal in the discus with a throw of 128-11.

Picking up where he left off at the Mustang Relays, junior Jadon Durity placed first in the triple jump with an attempt of 44-10 and second in the long jump with a 21-03.50.

Overall, the boys placed fifth with a score of 92 in the team rankings.

Liberty Hill track and field athletes are seemingly prepared and ready to perform in Lampasas, but Coach Peterson thinks this district meet will be one of the toughest ever.

“I predict this will be one of the closest district meets in a long time, every team in our district has the potential to score major points in each event,” she said. “It is really going to come down to the wire. It is going to be really exciting.”