By Mike Maltais
Ben Klemmeck and Liam Daily held off two hometown rivals to finish first and third respectively and led the Liberty Bell High School boys’ varsity cross-country team to second place at the Quincy Invitational last Saturday (Oct. 12).
Klemmeck beat Quincy’s Spencer Elmore by fractions of a second at the finish line, and Daily was 34 seconds ahead of fourth-place Quincy runner Victor Salgado.
Liberty Bell finished just three points behind 2A winner Ephrata but ahead of eight other schools competing in the event.
“It was great to see Ben hold off the Quincy runner at the end as they were running together for the last quarter-mile,” said coach Craig Herlihy. “That’s a great confidence builder for Ben.”
“Liam also did a great job setting the pre-planned early 5:15-per-mile pace and helping he and Ben continue to go through the second mile in first and second place respectively,” Herlihy added.
Willy Duguay placed ninth in the varsity run and Morgan Ott was in 17th place.
The two-lap, 3-mile course around the Quincy High School campus drew 83 varsity runners in “ideal running conditions, 50 degrees, cloudy, no wind,” said Herlihy.
Even though they knew the team would have its hands full at Quincy, “coach Erik Brooks and I wanted this to be a ‘statement’ race,’” Herlihy said. “We not only wanted to show our competitors what this team is made of, but also felt we needed to show ourselves too.”
As it turned out, both the varsity and JV runners had their best races of the season.
“The kids were totally focused pre-race and their times/results showed it,” Herlihy said.
“I saw our athletes dig down for every bit of energy, especially near the finish line.”
Lilly Schlotzhauer finished 35th among 66 runners in the girls’ varsity race.
On the junior varsity side, Erik Ellis and Geza Sukovaty finished 18th and 21st respectively among 56 runners.
“Erik continues to drop his time and pace per mile and is earning that last spot on the post-season seven-man varsity team,” Herlihy said. “Geza ran an incredible race, dropping his per-mile race pace from 7:22 down to an amazing 7 minutes flat.”
Liberty Bell 50
Cascade Leavenworth 101
Lake Roosevelt 220
1 Ben Klemmeck 16:15.27
3 Liam Daily 16:32.59
9 Willy Duguay 17:40.49
17 Morgan Ott 17:55.46
20 Josiah Klemmeck 18:03.21
45 Logan Szafas 19:37.68
Girls’ varsity results
35 Lilly Schlotzhauer 24:17.23
18 Erik Ellis 20:40.24
21 Geza Sukovaty 21:00.68
54 Tyler Bergevin-Krumme 26:39.1