Cross Country Panthers take State honors

From left, Coaches Kelsey Quinn, Kim Holt and Charice Hankins (far right) with the State qualifiers -- Emma Hofmann, McKynzie King, Hannah Manning, Courtney Smith, Chelsea Cole, Danielle Rimann, Jordan Marsh, and in front, Mitchell Germann. The girls cross country team won third in State, King earned fourth place and Germann won third place for 3A Boys. (Photo by Doug Germann)

From left, Coaches Kelsey Quinn, Kim Holt and Charice Hankins (far right) with the State qualifiers — Emma Hofmann, McKynzie King, Hannah Manning, Courtney Smith, Chelsea Cole, Danielle Rimann, Jordan Marsh, and in front, Mitchell Germann. The girls cross country team won third in State, King earned fourth place and Germann won third place for 3A Boys. (Photo by Doug Germann)

By TAYLOR GRAFFT

ROUND ROCK — The Liberty Hill Cross Country Girls finished their season with a third place win at the State Meet Nov. 9 in Round Rock.

The girls finished with a team score of 111, behind College Station, which took first, and Decatur.

“We talked about this when we got off the bus and how amazing this season has been and what they’ve accomplished,” said Coach Kim Holt. “There are some good teams here. The two teams that finished in front of them are always good. Decatur is always here and College Station might move up to 4A next year. They did a fantastic job and I couldn’t ask for more. It’s been an amazing season and journey they’ve been through this year.”

For the Panthers, freshman McKynzie King finished in fourth place with a time of 11:51.53. King took first place at the Regional Meet the week before and capped off her phenomenal freshman year with another top finish.

“I’ve been to (this course) three times in the past, but this time was really exciting because I’ve never run State before,” said Miss King. “There were a lot of runners that were older or a grade above me and it was a little freaky running against them to start the year. At the beginning of the race I wasn’t sure how I was going to do. But once the race started I knew I was going to do pretty well. The girls that finished in front of me are actually really nice girls. I have a couple of goals over the next three years that I want to focus on. There was a senior last year and her best time running cross-country was 11:23. My goal is to break that. And my other goal is to win State. I don’t know when that’ll be, but I want to win it.”

The future looks bright for the Liberty Hill Girls cross country team as all the girls who competed in the State Meet will be back next year.

“We have a lot of freshmen and some eighth graders coming up that could help us out next year,” Holt said. “If everything goes well they could really help the varsity team and we could be back here for three or four more years.”

Kelsie Warren of College Station took first in State with a time of 11:24.60. Emily Estrada of Clint Mountain View, and Laina Sorensen of Argyle rounded out the top three.

Freshman Hannah Manning finished 31st with a time of 12:23.40, while junior teammate Chelsea Cole finished 32nd with a time of 12:23.62.

“Being up on the podium, you just get that adrenaline, and it feels so good,” said Miss Cole. “I’m just so proud of everything we’ve done this year and knowing all the hard work has paid off. It was a really good season. We finished first in every event except one. We didn’t get first today, but we are still happy with the finish and it was a good season overall.”

With so many younger runners, Miss Cole says it’s important to tell them to handle the meet and pressure like it’s just another race.

“We told them not to have any regrets after the race, you want to go out there and do your best since it was the last race of the season,” she said.

Sophomore Danielle Rimann finished 46th with a time of 12:34.30. Freshman Emma Hofmann finished 55th with a time of 12:43.77. Freshman Courtney Smith finished with a time of 12:55.66. Sophomore Jordan Marsh finished 92nd with a time of 13:24.46.

Mitchell Germann, who made it to the State Meet for the fourth time, was the sole representative of the boys team after finishing second overall at the Regional Meet.

At the beginning of the year, Germann made it his goal to finish on the podium at the State Meet. After he finished 10th last season at State, he posted his best finish ever, placing third overall with a time of 16:21.41.

“My competitiveness is what drives me,” said Germann. “That’s why I get in a run every single day. I want to be successful and I want to win races. I don’t like to lose and I try to race against myself every day and race as hard as I can. Cross country is a different kind of sport. It comes down to how much pain you’re willing to go through. It’s all about how hard you’re willing to push it. Ever since last year the goal was to get to the podium. I was worried I wasn’t going to get there during the race, but at the end I was able to pull it out.”

Germann now finishes his cross country career as a senior as one of the most successful runners in Liberty Hill history.

“This is definitely my most memorable experience, but it’s a little bittersweet,” Germann said. “I’m really happy I did what I wanted to do, but it’s a little sad because it’s my last cross country race. It’s just been a great season for both the girls and boys teams. The girls pretty much won every single event this year and the guys team, we did a lot better than we thought we would. We had a bunch of freshmen come up that really helped out the team. I’ll definitely try and come back and stop by a few practices, maybe some summer workouts.”