By Joseph Garcia
Five athletes will represent Liberty Hill High School this weekend at the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin, when the best of the best Texas has to offer compete for a chance to claim glory on the medal stand.
Four seniors and one junior will make the short voyage south to participate in the coveted meet Friday, May 11, and Saturday, May 12, at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus.
“I believe everyone is ready to compete,” said Liberty Hill boys track and field Coach Jimmy Duncan. “The week off before the State meet allows us to fully rest our legs – but it does seem like time starts to stand still as you are anxiously waiting to compete. The week after the regional meet, they had some pretty tough workouts. We are basically shutting down now to prepare to run Saturday.”
The first to challenge for a medal will be lone junior Jadon Durity-Boatright, beginning with the long jump at 1:30 p.m. on Friday. He will be the only Panther to compete on Friday and will end the day with the triple jump at 7 p.m.
Durity-Boatright won district titles in both the long and triple jumps and at the Regional Meet in Corpus Christi, took second place in both events with jumps of 22-1 and 47-1 1/2.
On Saturday, the four senior Panthers will do their best to earn medals, starting with the two girls.
First senior Jessica Green will compete in the high jump at 12 p.m. Green won the gold medal at the Regional Meet in the high jump with an attempt of 5-6.
“She’s doing good,” said Liberty Hill girls track and field coach Gretchen Peterson. “She’s been there before so this is not something new for her. So, I think she is excited but is just focusing on what she needs to do and what she wants to accomplish.”
Peterson also said Green is still peaking because of the basketball team’s long playoff run that led to a delay in track training.
“I think coming out from basketball late definitely has put her on a different kind of time schedule as far as what she’s been able to do,” Peterson said. “But I think this is the right time (for her) and it all adds up for her. I think she will do really good.”
Next, senior Susie Kemper will run her first of two races in the 800-meter run, which begins at 12:20 p.m. Kemper’s gold medal-winning Regional Meet time was of 2 minutes 21.64 seconds.
Following Kemper’s initial race, best friends Cameron Cardwell and Andrew Waller-De la Rosa will face off one last time in the 800-meter run at 12:30 p.m.
Finally, Kemper will defend her State Title in the 1600-meter run at 12:45 p.m. She clocked a 5:24.45 at the Regional Meet for the gold.
“(Jessica) and Susie (Kemper) are both excited but I think it’s also their last, kind of final (meet) and I think they are ready for it,” Peterson said. “There is just that excitement and anxiousness about it to have that (championship) moment again and run (for Liberty Hill) one last time “All of those things should really just add to their performances on Saturday.”
Coach Duncan said the Durity-Boatright, Cardwell and Waller-De la Rosa feel like they have something to prove and will aim to put their best feet forward.
“Obviously, we would love to see a first and second place finish by Liberty Hill in the boys 800-meter (run) and Jadon (Durity-Boatright) to step on to the medal stand as well,” Duncan said. “No matter what the outcome of Saturday, the kids should feel extremely proud of their accomplishments. There are not many track athletes who can say they ran at the state meet. They have brought honor to our program and school – I am very proud of all of them.”