CC teams have solid first contest

By Joseph Garcia

Following the first cross country event of the season on Saturday, August 25, in Burnet, the entire Liberty Hill squad posed on a pier near the course. The girls and boys had great showings against 5A, 4A and 3A competition. (Photo by Doug GermanThe Liberty Hill cross country program competed for the first time on Saturday since participating in the 2011 State Meet and the Panthers looked to be in mid-season form already.

The University of Texas Sport Management program hosted the Burnet Cross Country Relays at Reveille Peak Ranch on August 25 for high school cross country teams from around Central Texas. And both the boys’ and girls’ teams from Liberty Hill placed in their first race of the season.

The race format was a three-person 4.5 mile relay, with each athlete running 1.5 miles. The girls first team of freshman Jordan Marsh, sophomore Chelsea Cole and freshman Danielle Rimann won gold in the 1-3A/Private division and placed third overall that included the 4A and 5A schools.

“Overall, they looked really strong they ran hard,” said Liberty Hill cross country Coach Kim Holt. “It was a big success.”

A second girls team from Liberty Hill of Abbi Shelton, Amanda Kelly and Hannah Wright won third in the 1-3A division.

The boys first team of junior Mitchell Germann, senior Joe Lingren and junior Grant Hoffman took third over the 1A-3A/Private schools, behind Giddings and Regents.

The 4A/5A schools that participated included: Leander, McNeil, Hays, Copperas Cove, Anderson, Marble Falls, Westwood and Hutto. The 1-3A/Private division included: Giddings, Llano, Antonian, St. Dominic Salvio, Lampasas, Faith Academy, Liberty Hill, Regents and Burnet.

Overall, Liberty Hill fielded five boys’ teams and six girls’ teams in the Burnet Relay. Coach Holt said the relay format is a way to ease runners into the season.

“Sometimes in the first race of the season a lot of schools want to put on a relay race,” Holt explained. “They don’t run the true distance, they just run a mile and a half, but it kind of gets them (feeling) like a team and gets them excited for the season. They didn’t even time, they were just going to give medals to the top three teams. The coaches did the timing since it’s pretty hard to time a meet like that.”

With the Burnet relay in the dust, Coach Holt and the young cross country teams that include just four seniors (Cera Dixon, Jake Keese, Joe Lingren and Zach Stiles) will look to the first true meet of the season when they travel to Belton Friday, August 31.

Belton is a course known for one giant hill, but runners will have to get used to hills with the regional meet being held in Lubbock this year.

“It’s going to be a real meet,” Holt said. “So the girls will run two miles and the boys will run three miles. We didn’t run in Belton last year, I know they have a big hill at one point. But I tried to pick some courses that had some hills in it because when we go to regionals (Lubbock) has a huge hill and a lot of smaller hills.”

In addition to the Belton meet, Coach Holt will soon prep the runners with hill training as the season progresses.

“We will (start hill training) next week and go to a park that has some hills and run there in the afternoon,” Holt said.

The Belton meet is one of eight guaranteed meets the Panthers will participate in this year.