By JOSEPH GARCIA
Midway through their season, the Liberty Hill High School cross country teams are where they want to be physically and mentally leading up to the District Meet Oct. 24 in Lampasas.
“We’ve got about four weeks until the district meet. We still want to get better, but I think we are pretty good right now,” said Liberty Hill Coach Kim Holt.
Their latest race took place on Sept. 20 at the Bill Bradley Invitational at the Gatesville Country Club in Gatesville with the varsity girls trotting to their second straight win, while the boys earned their second consecutive bronze medal.
In the meet the top five girls posted finishes of under 13 minutes in their 2-mile race, led by race freshman Danielle Rimann (12:24) who finished second overall.
Sophomore Chelsea Cole (12:44) won the individual bronze, with the rest of the scorers finishing in the top 10. Amanda Kelley finished eighth (12:52), Jordan Marsh placed ninth (12:53) and Abbi Shelton rounded out the top 10 in 10th (12:53).
“The girls did really good, they beat Lampasas who beat them at Belton, so they were really pumped to try to beat them,” Holt said. “The girls also beat everyone in our district who was there. Last time that Lampasas beat us they were in front of us most of the race and we wanted to be in front of them (this time) at the beginning of the race, so we were working on that and they did it.”
The varsity boys clawed their way to a third-place finish led by junior Mitchell Germann, who nabbed his second straight individual gold medal, running the 5K course in 16:03. In the process the Liberty Hill boys finished ahead of all 8-3A competition.
“The course was a little shorter than three miles,” Holt said. (Mitchell Germann) ran a good race at 16:03.”
The following top four boys finished in a bunch beginning with senior Zack Stiles who finished 19th (17:36) tailed by freshman Clayton Luckadoo in 24th (17:48), sophomore Layne Bolin in 29th (17:58) and senior Joe Lingren in 35th (18:07).
Tied in points, however, with Gatesville at 108 the third place team finish came down to the teams’ sixth runners with the edge going to the Panthers.
Junior Grant Hoffman, hobbled by a knee injury, grinded out a 39th place finish in 18:20, finishing ahead of Gatesville’s No. 6 runner, vaulting the Panthers into third place with the tiebreaker.
Coach Holt was proud of the way Hoffman ran through pain to propel the boys to a medal.
“The boys tied with Gatesville, but our sixth runner won (the tiebreaker),” Holt explained. “(Grant Hoffman) did a good job, but was having a hard time because his knee was really killing him and you could tell. He gutted it out and finished ahead of (the Gatesville runner). I am always telling (the team) that the sixth runner is important. They don’t score points, but they are the tiebreaker. He did a good job of fighting through the pain to get the win over Gatesville”.
The cross country teams return to a familiar course on Saturday, Sept. 29 in Salado, with Hofmann expected to run. But the ultimate goal is to get everybody healthy and running their best by the time Oct. 24 rolls around for the district meet in Lampasas.
“That’s what we are hoping for,” Holt said.