By Mike Maltais
The Liberty Bell High School boys’ varsity track and field team made history at the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association State Track and Field Championships in Cheney last Friday and Saturday (May 30 – 31) when the Mountain Lion boys took second place for their first-ever state trophy.
The Mountain Lions were leading the pack after the preliminary qualifications Friday, where the top eight finishers in each event moved on to Saturday’s finals.
When it was all over Saturday, the Liberty Bell boys finished second in the point totals with 47, just eight behind first-place Raymond. The Mountain Lions placed in eight of nine events they entered and set three new school records to go along with several personal best performances.
The girls’ team scored four points for 29th place.
While a lingering injury kept senior Austin Watson from competing in the 100- and 200-meter sprints, he did leap his way to Liberty Bell’s only first-place finish with a 22-foot, 5-inch long jump, beating his old mark “by almost a foot and a half,” said coach Rocky Kulsrud. Watson’s jump is second-best all-time at Liberty Bell behind the 23’1” mark set by Justin Gilsoul in 1994.
Liam Daily “broke his school record in the 800 meters, getting second, and also his 1,600-meter school record in getting fourth,” Kulsrud said.
Ben Klemmeck finished third in the 3,200 meters and set a personal best with his fifth-place finish in the 1,600 meters.
Jaymis Hanson tied his personal best with sixth in the high jump at 6 feet even, and set a new personal best with an eighth-place finish in triple jump — a single scoring point that ended up being significant as Liberty Bell edged North Beach by one point for second place.
In the 4×100-meter relay, Cesar Dominguez, Hanson, Jose Dominguez and Watson set a school record in the preliminaries but had a bad handoff and finished seventh in the finals, Kulsrud said.
Hanson and Cesar Dominguez then teamed up with Daily and Kelsey Jensen to take second in the 4×400-meter relay following a first-place finish in the prelims the previous day.
On the girls’ side, sophomore Claire Waichler scored the team’s only points when she took fifth in the 3,200 meters with a personal best in that race, as well as in the 1,600 meters where she finished ninth, one place away from scoring.
Freshman Lauren Fitzmaurice posted her personal best in the 300-meter hurdles and just missed making the finals with a ninth-place preliminary finish.
With just eight points standing between Liberty Bell and the state championship, Kulsrud noted that had Watson been healthy enough to compete, “certainly Austin in the 100-200 (meters) would have made things interesting.”
The first three 2B finishers in the 100 meters at state ran the distance in 11.44, 11.45 and 11.58 seconds respectively. Watson’s best time is 11.21. In the 200 meters, Watson’s best time of 23.35 would have placed him in the middle of the top eight. Points awarded for first through eighth place are 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 respectively.
That noted, the coach said he was extremely pleased with the effort by his athletes.
“First ever trophy for track and field. Three school records plus a number of personal best results make for a very happy coach and team,” Kulsrud summed up.
2B mens’ team scores, top 10
2 Liberty Bell 47
3 North Beach 46
5 Tacoma Baptist 36
6 Northwest Christian-Colbert33
7 St. George’s 31
7 Bear Creek 31
9 Colfax 27
10 La Conner 23.5
2B mens’ results
2 Liam Daily, 1:56.93
4 Liam Daily, 4:29.57
5 Ben Klemmeck, 4:32.16
3 Ben Klemmeck, 10:09.80
7 Cesar Dominguez, 45.66
2 Kelsey Jensen, 3:31.74
6 Jaymis Hanson, 6-00.00
1 Austin Watson, 22-05.00
8 Jaymis Hanson, 40-06.50
2B women’s results
5 Claire Waichler, 12:17.03
G A L L E R Y