Boys, girls finish first in Salado

The Lady Panthers varsity cross country team takes a strong start in Salado. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

The Lady Panthers varsity cross country team takes a strong start in Salado. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Liberty Hill’s boys varsity cross country team came away with a first place finish in Salado last week, beating China Spring, Salado, Waco Connally, Lorena, Central Texas Christian School, Robinson and Texas School for the Deaf.

“They did a really good job in Salado,” said Head Cross Country Coach Kim Holt. “It’s the first time they’ve finished first, both boys and girls. I think finishing first on a tough course will really give them some confidence.”

Clayton Nance continued to impress with a third place finish and a time of 18:11.2, followed by Nick Roth in fourth with a time of 18:26.7. Gabriel Diaz and Alex Albarran had top 10 finishes, as well, coming in seventh and 10th, respectively. Diaz finished with a time of 18:34.5 and Albarran finished with a time of 18:49.8.

According to Coach Holt, Salado’s cross country course was one of the toughest they’ve competed on all year, featuring lots of terrain that was difficult to navigate.

“It was a tough course,” Holt said. “Lots of inclines and hills. I thought all the kids really did well, not freaking out about the hills. The third mile for the boys 5k is all uphill, so they had it really tough, and they only won by two points, so they had some competition there.”

The girls varsity team also finished in first place, behind another dominant performance from Mckynzie King. They finished ahead of China Spring, Salado, Lorena, Moody, Central Texas Christian School, Waco Connally and Robinson.

King’s first-place time was 12:44.4, 24 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. Emma Hofmann, Eliana Luna, and Hannah Brown also finished in the top 10, coming in third, sixth, and ninth, respectively. Hofmann finished with a time of 1:42.0, Luna with a time of 14:00.4, and Brown with a time of 14:06.0.

The JV boys finished in second behind McNeil, beating Harker Heights, Shoemaker, Round Rock Concordia, Killeen, Waco Connally, Pflugerville Connally, Hutto, Grace Academy and Lorena.

Liberty Hill’s Ryan Ray finished in first among the JV runners with a time of 19:36.0. Jordan Rocha finished third with a time of 19:54.5, and Parker Nance in sixth with a time of 20:22.9.

The JV girls finished in second behind McNeil, as well. They beat Shoemaker, Harker Heights, Marlin, Salado, Killeen, Lorena, Hutto, Waco Connally, Pflugerville Connally and Texas School for the Deaf.

The JV girls had two top 10 finishers in Aubrey Caskey and Shannon Warren.

Caskey finished sixth with a time of 15:20.2, and Warren finished seventh with a time of 15:29.8.

The Panthers’ next meet is the McNeil Cross Country Invitational that will take place at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock on Saturday, Oct. 1. Races will start at 8 a.m.