Photos by Erik Brooks

The girls’ contingent for Liberty Bell came home with a first-place team trophy and 10 personal best times over the 5,000-meter course at Marysville.

The Liberty Bell High School varsity girls’ cross-country team repeated last year’s first-place finish at the 12th annual Nike Twilight Invitational in Marysville on Saturday (Sept. 29), and the boys’ and girls’ squads racked up a host of personal records over the 5,000-meter course.

In the combined class 1B-2B-2A varsity girls’ race, the Lady Lions all ran near the front of the pack to score 47 points to second-places Kings’ 113 (in cross-country, the lowest score wins, based on where the top five runners for each team place). Leading the way for Liberty Bell was junior Novie McCabe in third place with a personal record time of 18 minutes, 19.1 seconds. She finished behind the Markezich sisters, seniors Andrea and Olivia, of Bear Creek. It was a blistering pace for the smaller schools — the Bear Creek runners would have finished first and second, and McCabe fourth, in the varsity race for 3A and 4A schools.

Liberty Bell had two more finishers among the top 10 — seniors Icel Sukovaty in 6th and Ella Kuzyk in 7th. Freshman Jori Grialou took 12th place, sophomore Eva Weymuller 24th, sophomore Keeley Brooks 39th, senior Ava Mott 45th among a field of 157 competitors.

In the girls’ junior varsity race for juniors and seniors, Liberty Bell opted to run sophomore Greta Laesch — who climbed to the top of the podium with her first-place finish. Senior Willa Hilton finished 112th in a field of 162 runners.

In the girls’ JV race for freshman and sophomores, the Lady Lions took fourth place in team scoring. Freshmen Mahali and Lilia Kyzyk finished 12th and 13th respectively, sophomore Lena Nelson took 28th place, sophomore Lindsay Worrell 47th, sophomore Annika Tate Libby 63rd, freshman Ayeanna Ruprect 83rd and freshman Payten Kaufman 101st in the pack of 190 runners.

All told, the girls had 11 seasonal best times and 10 personal records on the day, head coach Erik Brooks reported.

The Lady Lions raced without two outstanding performers: junior Greta Scholz is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in last year’s Nordic skiing season, and sophomore Liv Aspholm is out for at least four weeks with a stress fracture, Brooks said.

On the boys’ side, the Mountain Lions registered eight seasonal bests and six personal records in the 5K races, Brooks said.

In the boys’ 1B-2B-2A varsity race, Liberty Bell finished 14th out of 28 teams in overall scoring. The top Mountain Lion finisher, in 20th place, was senior Emerson Worrell. Sophomore Travis Grialou was 51st, sophomore Bodhi Kuzyk 103rd, senior Lazo Gitchos 104th, senior Simon Student 105th, freshman Bellamy Kar 135th and senior Owen Hevly 148th in the field of 192 runners.

Liberty Bell’s freshman and sophomores JV team took 25th place out of 36 teams. Sophomore Andrew Kominak was 104th, freshman Cooper Legler 111th, freshman David Kominak 184th, freshman Eli Neitlich 198th and freshman Kieren Quigley 222nd in a field of 301 competitors.

Next up is the Leavenworth Invitational on Saturday (Oct. 6). Some Liberty Bell athletes will be taking SAT tests and won’t be available.

Boys’ varsity runners, left to right, Bodhi Kuzyk, Travis Grialou, Emerson Worrell and Bellamy Kar, at the start of the race.