By Joseph Garcia
The Panthers are headed back to state.
Following a substandard district meet in Lampasas, 10 days later the Liberty Hill girls’ cross country team rebounded with a resilient performance by taking second at the UIL Regional Championship meet in Lubbock on Saturday, Nov. 3.
Led by freshman Danielle Rimann who finished in seventh place overall (12:17.3), the girls finished with the silver medal behind Dalhart (116) just nine points behind with 125. The finish sends the girls team to the State Meet on Saturday, Nov. 10, at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.
Liberty Hill’s next four runners who helped clinch a trip to state were Chelsea Cole (12:44.8); Maria Rodriguez (12:45.7); Abigail Shelton (12:51.7); and Jordan Marsh (13:11.3)
Joining the girls in Round Rock will be junior Mitchell Germann who finished fourth overall with a time of 16:15.00, leading the boys’ varsity to a respectable 11th place finish.
Liberty Hill runners behind Germann included senior Zack (17:54.4); Layne Bolin (17:58.6); Grant Hoffman (18:18.1); and Ryan House (18:23.6).
Liberty Hill cross country Coach Kim Holt was pleased with how all the runners ran, especially the girls after being so heavily favored to win the District 8-3A meet in Lampasas.
“I thought all the runners represented Liberty Hill very well,” said Holt. “The girls team rebounded from their third-place finish at district and finished second to advance to the state meet. Dalhart only beat them by 8 points, so the girls have a good shot at beating them at state.”
Following the 11th place finish, the boys’ season is over as a team since only the top three teams from each of the four regional meets advance. The young team gained some much-valuable experience this season and will have Germann to lead them next season as a senior.
But for now, Germann will try to obtain his goal of a top-10 finish at state.
“Mitchell I thought had a good race,” Holt said. “The Brownwood boy that he beat at district finished second, so I know that Mitchell will want to beat him at state. Mitchell’s goal is to finish in the top 10. I think he has a good shot at doing that.”
While Germann is the lone male representing Liberty Hill, the young, promising girls squad should be interesting to watch. Coach Holt thinks they have an excellent chance to see the medal stand this Saturday.
“The girls have a good shot at medaling at the state meet,” Holt said. “It will be a close race, so if the girls can run with the determination that they did at regionals, then they have a shot at a medal.”
The Panthers had the luxury of running the Old Settler’s Park course earlier in the year with some of the Liberty Hill runners recording personal bests. The hilly course in Lubbock is nothing like the Old Settler’s Park and Coach Holt said the Panthers could have an advantage, having run the course already.
She thinks anything is possible.
“We do have a home course advantage,” Holt said. “Some of those teams did not run the course this year. We ran the course at the McNeil meet and had a very good race. Mitchell ran good there and so did the varsity girls. My outlook at the moment is that anything is possible for Saturday. You never know what might happen.”
Start time for the 3A Girls race is 11:40 a.m., with the Boys 3A race to follow at 12 Noon.