Liberty Hill makes statement at McNeil invite

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The Liberty Hill boys cross country team charges at the starting line of the McNeil Invitational at Old Settlers Park led by Garret Cummins, left, and Ryan Ray, right. The boys team finished 14th in the standings with 391 points.  (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

The Liberty Hill boys cross country team charges at the starting line of the McNeil Invitational at Old Settlers Park led by Garret Cummins, left, and Ryan Ray, right. The boys team finished 14th in the standings with 391 points.
(Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By TAYLOR GRAFT

There was a sense of relief for the Liberty Hill girls cross country team as they proved to be the top Class 4A team at the McNeil Invitational, which was held Saturday at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock.

The competition at the meet featured some of the top runners and teams from across the state, and the Lady Panthers proved they had what it takes to keep up with them, pushing aside any pre-race anxiety.

Cross country Coach Kim Holt said she was thrilled that the girls placed so well against the tough competition.

The most important aspect about the girls results is how they bode well for the UIL State Championships Nov. 8, which are run on the same course.

While the team finished second with a team score of 118, just 10 points behind the leaders, Antonian College Prep RED, Liberty Hill was the top public school in the race. Antonian College Prep won’t run at the UIL State Meet, establishing Liberty Hill as an early favorite to reach the podium at the state meet in early November.

With that in mind, Liberty Hill can head to the district meet in Lampasas two weeks from now knowing they can still improve, but confident in where they are at midseason.

After finishing first overall in the first four meets of the season, sophomore McKynzie King was once again the Panthers’ top runner with a fourth-place finish at McNeil. She also ran her second fastest time of the season, 12 minutes and 2 seconds in the two-mile race.

Junior Danielle Rimann also placed top-10 for the Lady Panthers with an eighth-place finish. The junior finished with a time of 12:14.71.

Senior Chelsea Cole finished 23rd, sophomore Hannah Manning finished in 35th, and freshman Courtney Peterson finished 48th. Sophomore Emma Hoffman finished with a time of 13:16.22.

The Varsity boys finished in 13th place as a team, but did finish better than all of their district opponents at the meet.

“They beat all of our district opponents, but still have some work to do if they want to be one of the top four teams at the Region IV meet that makes it to State,” said Holt.

Sophomore Ryan Ray finished as the top Liberty Hill runner with a time of 18:01.60. Senior Garrett Cummins finished with a time of 18:04.64.

The Junior Varsity boys team finished 22nd overall at the meet. Talon Greiner was the Panthers’ top runner with a time of 19:58.05.

The Junior Varsity girls finished in sixth place in the team standings with a team score of 173 points. Dakota Spencer was the Lady Panthers’ top runner with a time of 13:32.93.

Junior High Cross Country

The Junior High Cross Country teams ran in Rodgers last Saturday and came away with good results.

The Junior High Boys team won the meet with a first place finish. Nick Roth (2nd overall) and Nick Bramhall (3rd overall) were the Panthers’ top finishers.

The Junior High Girls team finished third in the team standings. Eliana Luna (7th overall) and Kennedy Coleman (10th overall) were the Lady Panthers’ top runners at the meet.

The Junior High Cross Country team will compete in the Georgetown River Run on Saturday, Oct. 11 at San Gabriel Park.

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