By Taylor Grafft
Liberty Hill hosted the 2014 Panther Relays on Feb. 15 and had several varsity and junior varsity teams finish at the top of the standings. A host of runners and athletes in field events put in strong individual performances and finished in the top of their events.
A large crowd cheered the Panther athletes across the finish line for their respective events.
“We are very lucky to have such supportive parents,” said girls track Coach Gretchen Peterson. “Not only for their own children, but for the program. I am sure hearing words of encouragement and applause really help push them along. We had a great turnout on Saturday.”
The Panther varsity boys team finished in first place in team standings with 151 points. Burnet finished in second place with 113 points, while Giddings finished third with 96 points. Brownwood, Gatesville, Georgetown East View, and Faith Academy rounded out the rest of the top seven.
The boys had several teams that took first place in their events and several runners that won gold individually. The 4 x 400 Relay team, which considered of Caleb Guerin, Nicolas Hernandez, Austin Thrash and Christian Anderson, finished first with a time of 3:33.85. Will Fromme won first place in the 110 Meter Hurdles with a time of 15.19.
The boys took first place in the Sprint Medley as well, finishing with a time of 3:54.67. Gabriel Shoemaker, River Marks, Joe Kipfer and Mitchell Germann were the Panther runners for that event.
The varsity girls team finished in third place in the team standings with 98 points. Brownwood finished in first place with 142 points and Gatesville finished in second with 122. Despite the third place finish, the Lady Panthers had several athletes win or finish in the top three of their events.
“We were proud of how well the kids competed, but we went in not really worrying about winning the meet,” Coach Peterson said. “We just wanted to get our kids some experience and practice. With the weather lately we have missed out on reps, so this was a great way of getting those in. I thought our sprint relays looked good, and we were faster than we were at this time last year. Overall, our kids did a great job for the first meet, but there is always room to improve. What matters most is what we do in April.”
Heather Shaffer won first place in the 100 Meter Hurdles with a time of 16.88. Liberty Hill’s 4 x 800 Meter Relay team, consisting of Heather Manning, Danielle Rimann, Alli Ledesma and Shannon Warren, finished in second place with a time of 10:57.54.
Brianna Burns finished in second place in the varsity girls shot put with a throw of 33 feet, 5 ½ inches. Kristen Cox finished in third in the varsity girls discus with a throw of 92 feet, 1 inch. Madi Sharp finished in second place in the varsity girls high jump with a leap of 4 feet, 10 inches.
The Liberty Hill Junior Varsity boys team finished in second place with 136 points, behind Burnet which finished with 158 points.
The Panthers JV 4 x 100 Meter Relay team (Grant White, Justin Wilson, Sam Ramirez, and Colton Cunningham) won first place with a time of 47.61. The Panthers JV 4 x 400 Meter Relay team also won first place with a time of 3:54.95.
The Panthers JV Sprint Medley team finished in first place as well with a time of 4:14.01.
The Liberty Hill JV girls team finished in first place with 161 points in the team standings. Brownwood came in second with 147 points, while Burnet finished third.
The JV girls took first in five events overall. They won the 4 x 200 Meter Relay, the 4 x 400 Meter Relay, the 4 x 800 Meter Relay, and the Distance Medley. Ana Rodriguez won the 300 Meter Hurdles for the JV team with a time of 51.74.
“We are very excited about this track season,” Coach Peterson said. “There is a lot of potential out there in every event, and we are excited about what this season has in store.”