Busy weekend for Liberty Hill track
By Joseph Garcia
AUSTIN – From the Capitol city to the Highland Lakes, Liberty Hill High School track and field athletes competed last weekend in their final tune-ups before the upcoming district meet in mid-April.
Some Panthers competed on the same track on the same day as Olympic medalists at the Texas Relays in Austin, while others were in Marble Falls for the Mustang Relays.
Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus hosted the 85th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays from March 28-31. Between Friday and Saturday, six Liberty Hill athletes competed in the annual event that included some of the top professional, college and high school athletes in the country.
Liberty Hill’s Jessica Green started off clearing 5-3 in the high jump for a 13th place finish against some Texas’ best 5A-3A athletes.
On Saturday, the team of Brian Cantwell, Nik Crozier, Andrew Waller and Cameron Cardwell started the morning off with a fourth place finish in the 4×800-meter relay in 7 minutes, 52.96 seconds.
Then it was cross-country state champion Susie Kemper’s turn to run the 1600-meter race against the state’s best mile runners. Kemper finished with a time of 5:12.22, which was good for a 17th place result.
Then in the final rounds of races at the 2012 Texas Relays, the boys’ team lined up for their best event – the 4×400-meter relay.
Once the starting gun sounded, Liberty Hill found itself in fifth place and toward the middle-end of the pack. But the ever-steady Panthers began to gain ground once the baton was handed off to Cardwell, who moved the team into a fourth place position.
Once Andrew Waller, the anchor, took the handoff, the gap was closed and Liberty Hill maneuvered its way into third and even had the second-place position along the last curve of the race. However, Waller was barely inched out down the home stretch by Terrance Robinson of Ingleside, earning the Panthers a third-place finish and bronze medal.
Liberty Hill (3:24.02) finished within two seconds of the winner Dal Madison (3:23.27).
“I think they ran great and with a lot of heart,” said Liberty Hill men’s track coach Jimmy Duncan.
While the Liberty Hill boys impressed, the two senior girls who competed would have liked to leave Austin with better results.
“I know that Susie (Kemper) and Jessica (Green) aren’t 100 percent pleased with their results,” said Liberty Hill girls track Coach Gretchen Peterson. “But they are talented, confident athletes. They know what they need to do, and competing at that level and in that atmosphere is motivating. They will be ready. We have two weeks to continue to work, and we will be fine.”
A little further west, some of the younger Liberty Hill track and field athletes competed at the Mustang Relays in Marble Falls.
On the varsity team, junior all-around athlete Jadon Durity highlighted the day for Liberty Hill with two first-place finishes. He won the long jump by a foot over with a 21-5 attempt. Then he leapt the competition by nearly two feet in the triple jump with an attempt of 44-1 to win first place.
Also for the boy’s varsity team, sophomore Mitchell Germann scored a pair of third-place finishes in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs with times of 4:46.20 and 10:12.61. And John Spurgeon earned a silver medal in the shot put with a throw of 45-02
Skylar Larkin nabbed a third-place finish in the girls varsity 800-meter run with a time of 2:32.80. Also on the girls’ side, Heather Shaffer earned a silver medal in the varsity pole vault with an attempt of 9-00.
For the girls junior varsity team, MaKenna Savaage took second in the pole vault with an attempt of 7-00 and Savanna Barnard won third in the discus, throwing a 75-10.
The boys junior varsity team also had good showing on Saturday.
Christian Anderson took second in the 400-meter dash and third in the 200-meter with times of 54.59 and 24.22. Jacob Covington won second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 17.06. And the team of Nick Barrios, Cody Maupin, Bradley Noel and Will Meng won third place in the 4×100-meter relay.
Overall, Coach Peterson said the Mustang Relays served as a great practice, especially for Liberty Hill’s younger track athletes.
“The Marble Falls meet was full of our freshman and sophomore runners,” she said. “So for them it was another opportunity to gain confidence and experience (prom was the same day). We are just pushing to get ready for district; these are all just great workouts and practices.”