By Mike Maltais
Liberty Bell High School varsity cross-country team veterans Liam Daily and Willy Duguay led a small squad of four runners into the first competition of the season at the Tonasket Invitational last Saturday (Sept. 7) and both crossed the finish line among the meet’s top 10 runners.
Daily placed fifth among 59 boys representing ten 1A and 2B schools with a time of 16 minutes, 20 seconds over the 2.8-mile course.
Duguay came in seventh with a time of 16:49.
“Liam seemed to be ‘off his game’ a bit but both he and I are not concerned,” Coach Craig Herlihy said.
In a post-race analysis at practice earlier this week, Daily conceded that his pre-race preparations might not have included enough water for adequate hydration.
“Willy had a very impressive first race of the season, sticking to his race plan by starting off ‘comfortably’ and picking up speed and picking off runners as the race went on,” the coach said.
Duguay admitted that he was just going to set a modest pace for his first meet of the season but discovered midway through the course that his energy reserves were greater than he anticipated, so he picked up the tempo and overtook all but six of the leaders.
Senior Erik Ellis, new to the XC program this year, finished 40th in 21:08 and sophomore Geza Sukovaty, another first-year runner, came in 45th in 21:36.
“We only had four runners eligible of the 16 we have on our roster,” said coach Herlihy. “Liam and Willy are varsity runners, Erik and Geza are JV runners although they all ran in the same 2.8-mile race around the school grounds.”
Republic took top team honors at Tonasket among the B teams with 39 points. LBHS, Pateros, Oroville, and Lake Roosevelt were the other class B schools competing.
“They have the happy heads right now,” Herlihy said of the Tigers. “They think they crushed us.”
The coach said he expects strong performances from his team this year that may surprise Liberty Bell’s No. 1 XC nemesis.
“We chase them every year but they need to watch out for us this season,” Herlihy said.
The Tonasket course was hot and hilly in contrast to what the runners will face on the mostly grass course at Moses Lake this Saturday.
“There is one hill there that you will see three times and take about 10 seconds to climb,” Herlihy advised his runners.
The Liberty Bell High School varsity cross-country team is rebuilding this season after losing six seniors to graduation last year. The departure of Justin McMillan, Joe Hausman, Taylor Woodruff, Tim Lewis, Nolan Jensen, and Seppe Sebreghts left Daily, Morgan Ott, and Lilly Schlotzhauer as the three senior veterans who returned to the program this year. Duguay, a junior, is the only other team member with prior experience.
However, the program drew a large turnout of 12 new faces that will fill any gaps left in the varsity and JV roster. Besides Ellis and Sukovaty the new striders include senior Logan Szafas, junior Josiah Klemmeck, sophomores Ben Klemmeck and Cory Diamond, freshmen Carter Dornfeld and Tyler Bergevin-Krumme, eighth-graders Eli Nielsen and Tim Haley, and seventh-graders Lazo Gitchos and Zack Strong.
Herlihy said he expects to have most of his runners eligible for Moses Lake.
The Mountain Lions will race at Blue Heron Park at Moses Lake Saturday (Sept. 14) at 10 a.m.
LBHS 2013 XC schedule
Sat Sept 14
@ Moses Lake Invitational, Blue Heron Park, 10am
Sat Sept 21
@ Wenatchee Invitational, Walla Walla Pt Park, 10am
Sat Sept 28
@ Mt Baker Invitational, Silver Lake Park/Maple Falls, 10am
Thu Oct 3
@ Chelan Invitational, Lake Chelan State Park, 4pm
Sat Oct 5
@ Can/Am Invitational, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, 10am
Sat Oct 12
@ Quincy Invitational, QHS, 11am
Sat Oct 19
Oroville Invitational, Osoyoos Lake State Park, noon
Sat Oct 26
CWB Championships @ LBHS, 1pm
Thu Oct 31, Nov 1 or 2
@ Regionals, site TBA
Sat Nov 9
@ State, Pasco