Panthers miss podium by one runner at State Meet

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The Liberty Hill girls cross country team came in fourth place at State Meet. (Courtesy Photo)

The Liberty Hill girls cross country team came in fourth place at State Meet. (Courtesy Photo)

By TAYLOR GRAFT

ROUND ROCK — Liberty Hill missed the podium by the slimmest of margins at the UIL Class 4A state meet.

Once the top five runners from each team were added up, Liberty Hill and Dalhart both finished with 128 points putting them in a tie for third place.

In that situation, a sixth-runner tie breaker determines who finishes third and fourth. Because Dalhart’s sixth runner finished above Liberty Hill’s sixth runner, Dalhart was rewarded with third place and a spot on the podium.

“At the state meet you never know what’s going to happen here,” said Coach Kim Holt. “All the runners feel the nerves and expectations. Overall the girls did great and we had a great season. To make it here is an accomplishment. Some schools never make it here.”

The Lady Panthers were certainly capable of winning a state title on Saturday.

They proved that two weeks ago in San Antonio when they won the Regional Championship over Saturday’s State Champion, Bandera, by seven points. Sometimes, though, one team can have an off day and another team can have a good day.

Although the team did not finish where they would have liked, the runners and their coaches still are proud from all the success they enjoyed this season.

Another district and regional championship, and another state appearance built up a pretty good resume.

And the team should be back next season to challenge for the State title.

The Lady Panthers return both McKynzie King and Danielle Rimann, who will be leading the pack and challenging for the number one spot at each event. They also return the talented sophomores that have helped get Liberty Hill to Old Settlers Park the last two seasons, and freshman-phenom Courtney Peterson who secured her spot on the Liberty Hill state team after a fantastic season.

“I think next year we’re going to try harder,” said Peterson. “We’re going to bond better as a team and we have new runners coming in that we’re familiar with so it should be a good year.”

Senior Chelsea Cole’s fantastic cross country career concluded on Saturday, too. Cole did what few runners across the state can claim, making it to the State Championships four seasons in a row.

The senior was noticeably disappointed after Liberty Hill’s fourth-place finish on Saturday.

Cole says she doesn’t plan on running cross country after she graduates, but she will compete in Track in the spring.

“I was nervous and excited (before the race),” said Cole. “I just really wanted to win. There’s a lot of disappointment because that didn’t happen considering we didn’t place and we were ranked number one most of the season. I’m just really sad it’s over.”

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