Panthers sweep all divisions with 1st Place finishes

Varsity cross country teams took first place in all divisions at the District Meet in Lampasas and now move on to Regionals, which will be in Huntsville Oct. 29. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

Varsity cross country teams took first place in all divisions at the District Meet in Lampasas and now move on to Regionals, which will be in Huntsville Oct. 29. (Shannon Hofmann Photo)

By Paul Livengood

Liberty Hill traveled to Lampasas for the second week in a row Saturday.

This time, the runners were competing in the district meet. The Panthers showed up with a dominating performance.

Liberty Hill runners took first place in all divisions both individually and as a team — four Panthers won their race and all four teams finished first with their team scores.

“It is an awesome feeling to see the kids perform as well as they did,” Cross Country Coach Kim Holt said. “It is exciting to see the runners happy and their parents and supporters happy for them.”

Alex Albarran finished first for his second race in a row at Lampasas. Albarran finshed the district meet with a time of a 16:59.6 three-mile, which was 12 seconds slower than his performance the week before.

Clayton Nance took fourth place home for the Panthers, while Nick Roth and Gabriel Diaz rounded out the top 10 finishers for Liberty Hill. The runners’ times were 17:23.0, 17:55.9, and 18:00.5, respectively.

The varsity boys team defeated the rest of the pack, putting together a team score of 34.

To put things into perspective, the best possible score is 15 if the top five runners finished in first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place. The Panthers’ top five runners finished in first, fourth, sixth, eighth, ninth, and 12th. The second place team, Lampasas, posted a team score of 56.

Mckynzie King returned for the district meet after not racing the week prior in Lampasas due to illness. King took home first place as well, running her two-mile in 12:09.4. Emma Hofmann followed closely on King’s footsteps, finishing with a time of 12:46.1.

Eliana Luna finished in eighth for the Panthers’ third best time, 13:01.4.

The varsity girls also bested Lampasas and Llano, who finished second and third respectively in both boys and girls, posting a team score of 39. Lampasas finished with 52 and Llano recorded its score of 62.

Only varsity moves onto regionals, so while the junior varsity teams won their meets, Saturday was the end of the season for those runners.

The junior varsity girls nearly posted a perfect score. The team scored a 22, with the only missing out on second place for a perfect 15.

Madison Sears won the junior varisty girls race, running a 13:29.2. Her teammates Aubrey Caskey, Ellie Rimann, Emhely Guzman, and Shannon Warren all finished in the top 10 as well.

The junior varsity boys team achieved a perfect score of 15. The top five finishers in the junior varsity boys division crossed the line all wearing Panther purple.

Parker Nance led the way for the Panthers, finishing in 19:14.0. Jordan Rocha, Kaleb Lorance, David Larkin, and Sam Roth were places two through five.

In fact, seven of the top 10 finishers in the junior varsity division all had “Liberty Hill” written across their chests.

“These runners did an awesome job at the district meet,” Holt said. “They made everyone proud!”

With the district meet in the books, next up for the Panther varsity cross country teams is the regional meet in Huntsville on Saturday, Oct. 29. If either or both teams place in the top four at regionals, they will qualify for the state meet.

Holt is optimistic.

“I think both the girls and boys varsity teams have a really good shot to make it to state,” Holt said.

If the Panthers run that meet the way they ran the district meet in Lampasas, there is a likely possibility of both teams making state runs.