Runners ready for the toughest test of the season in Round Rock
By TAYLOR GRAFT
The Liberty Hill Cross Country team will experience its toughest test this season when it travels to Old Settlers Park Saturday for the McNeil Invitational.
Coach Kim Holt said it will give her an idea of how Liberty Hill measures up with the competition moving forward into district, regional and state meets.
“The meet has lots of competition,” Holt said. “Some of the teams that are in our region will be there, so we want to see how we measure up against them.”
The McNeil meet is a favorite of most of the Liberty Hill runners because it is the site for the State Meet, which is held Nov. 8.
“The kids enjoy running at this meet because it is the site of the state meet and it is a big meet with lots of competition,” Holt said.
Although the course is the same as last year, the coaches and runners hope it’s not as dusty or windy, something they struggled with in past seasons.
“We’re hoping that the course isn’t really dusty as in years past,” Holt said. “That makes it hard for some kids to breathe and compete.”
Coach Holt believes that the recent results from all four teams show progress and this meet will be a big step as well.
“All the teams are making progress in the right direction,” Holt said. “My expectations are for the kids to do their best, compete, and see where we measure up at this point in the season.”
At the meet in Giddings last week, the Liberty Hill varsity girls team once again was dominant.
The girls finished in first place in the team standings with another perfect score of 15 — the second time they have achieved perfection this season.
McKynzie King finished first overall for the fourth time this season. The sophomore finished with a time of 12 minutes, 27 seconds in the 2-mile run. Her teammates Danielle Rimann (2nd overall, 12: 48.4), Hannah Manning (3rd overall, 13:01.4), Courtney Peterson (4th overall, 13:08.6), joined her with top five finishes.
Chelsea Cole (7th overall, 13:21.3), Tabitha Bowles (8th overall, 13:23.9), and Abbi Shelton (12th overall, 13:38.4) also did well with top-15 finishes.
The varsity boy’s team also finished well against tough competition.
The boys finished in 8th place in the team standings with 197 points. Ryan Ray was the top runner for Liberty Hill with a 20th overall finish with a time of 18:03.4.
The Junior Varsity girls team finished first overall with a team score of 37.
Safira Molina (3rd overall, 14:09.1) and Dakota Spencer (4th overall, 14:11.4) each finished in the top five for the Panthers. Hannah Smirl (7th overall) and Courtney Smith (9th overall) also placed well with top-ten finishes.
The Junior Varsity boys team finished in 11th place in the team standings with 325 points.
Talon Grenier was the Panthers’ top runner with a top-50 finish and a time of 20:26.1.