Meet brings more than 600 runners to Liberty Hill

The Lady Panthers varsity start at the Liberty Hill Cross Country Invitational meet Sept. 6. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

The Lady Panthers varsity start at the Liberty Hill Cross Country Invitational meet Sept. 6. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Head Coach Kim Holt and the Liberty Hill Cross Country teams hosted the 2014 Liberty Hill Cross Country Invitational last Saturday, Sept. 6, at Liberty High Junior High School and came away with good results.

Coach Holt was pleased with not only the large turnout at the meet, but also with the way her Liberty Hill teams competed against the strong athletes from schools that were in a classification higher than them. The meet featured over 600 total runners and more than 35 teams.

“The meet went really well,” said Holt. “It did get very hot for the junior varsity races, which were at the end of the schedule, but most of our runners ran a better time from the last meet (Belton).”

There were several changes to the course this year. The boys course, which was a three-mile run in 2013, was changed to a 5K run this year. The girls course, which was 100 meters too long last year, was shortened to make it a true two-mile run.

On Friday, Sept. 12, the teams will travel to Pflugerville to run in their next meet. The course at Pflugerville will be run at the soccer complex, the same course the Panthers ran in the 2013 season. Because it is at the soccer complex, the course will run fast due to the lack of inclines.

Many of the runners at the Liberty Hill meet improved their times from Belton, which was something Holt and her assistants were looking for as good progress.

“We are looking for improvement with each meet,” Holt said. “Many of our runners competed better this week, which is what we want to see.”

The Liberty Hill girls varsity cross country team finished in first place in the two-mile run with 19 total team points. Saint Michaels finished in second place with 79 team points, and Wimberley High School finished in third place with 82 points.

Liberty Hill sophomore McKynzie King finished in first place overall with a time of 11:56.03, while junior Danielle Rimann finished in fourth place overall with a time of 12:14.35.

Courtney Peterson (6th overall), Chelsea Cole (7th overall), Hannah Manning (8th overall), and Abbi Shelton (10th) rounded out the top 10.

Emma Hofmann finished in 11th place with a time of 13:18.46. Tabitha Bowles (14th overall), and Dakota Spencer (15th overall) also finished in the top 15. Mikayla Stiles finished 20th with a time of 13:54.44.

On the boys varsity team, Clayton Nance finished with the best overall time for the Panthers and finished in 22nd place. The boys team faced much tougher competition than normal and had to face athletes from Leander, Rouse, Georgetown and several other schools from the surrounding area.

Senior Garrett Cummins finished in 27th place with a time of 18:24.50. Sophomore Ryan Ray finished in 31st place with a time of 18:42.85. Jarod Dixon (34th) and Cade Castillo (35th) also had solid races for the Panthers.

Andrew Frerichs (39th), Logan Hageman (42nd), Clayton Luckadoo (44th), and Michael Natividad (47th) rounded out the top 50.

The Liberty Hill junior varsity teams also placed well at the meet. The JV Boys team finished in fifth place with 90 team points. The JV Girls team finished in second place with 32 points, just three points behind the leader Leander High School with 29 points.

The Liberty Hill Junior High Panthers dominated the meet on Saturday in their respective races. The Junior High boys team finished in first place, while the Junior High girls team finished in second place.