By JOSEPH GARCIA
A tad depleted but not out, runners from both the girls and boys Liberty Hill cross country teams have answered the bell when teammates need them the most.
Already having to alter their schedule due to inclement weather, Panther runners ran their toughest course thus far this year on Monday. Some runners struggled through pain, others through allergies, but most because of the hilly terrain of the course at Salado.
Instead of running on Saturday, the Salado meet was moved to Monday afternoon after a weekend of rain. And with some Liberty Hill runners not at their best, their teammates were there to pick up any slack.
The girls won a gold medal, while the boys finished third behind Salado and Bruceville-Eddy. But it was not easy and cross country Coach Kim Holt said the date change did make a slight difference.
“It made some difference,” said Holt. “(For example) Mitchell (Germann), he didn’t run his best. He said he didn’t have it yesterday and we had a couple of kids have trouble breathing I think because of allergies after the rain. I think considering we competed hard and did the best we could on that course. The boys had it tougher because they had to run the hills twice, but they did a good job. So far this was the toughest race they’ve run this year.”
With Germann not at his best and Amanda Kelley suffering from shin splints runners such as sophomore Layne Bolin and freshman Jordan Marsh stepped up for Liberty Hill, finishing second on the team.
“Jordan (Marsh) and Abbi (Shelton) stepped up in this meet and they out sprinted Chelsea (Cole) at the end,” Holt said. “I think that’s important for Jordan and Abbi to see that they can be up there with Chelsea. Joe (Lingrin) also stepped up for (the boys) and had one of his best races as our No. 5 guy. Then there was Clayton Luckadoo and Layne Bolin. Our younger guys are getting better.”
Up next for the cross country teams are meets at McNeil on Oct. 6 and Georgetown Oct. 13.
However, due to injuries and a marching band competition, the Panthers will be without their full compliment of runners.
Kelley is expected to miss at least the McNeil meet and likely Georgetown so that she will be ready for distict on Oct. 24 in Lampasas. Grant Hofmann will be one of several boys out for the McNeil race due to band obligations, but he will also take the time to visit the doctor for his ailments.
Just as the varsity runners had an opportunity to help their team in a big way, some junior varsity runners will have a similar chance to show what they can do in the upcoming McNeil meet.
“The girls will be able to make it but the boys race a little later,” explained Holt. “I will have a lot of boys that will not be running because of the marching band competition on the same day. So, there will be a couple different people running on varsity that haven’t yet. I will have to move up some people from JV and see what they got.”