By Mike Maltais
A strong core of state veterans and school record holders will lead the Liberty Bell High School varsity cross-country team into competition this year.
Returning state veterans and LBHS record-holders include senior captain Willy Duguay, fellow senior Josiah Klemmeck, junior Ben Klemmeck and sophomore Carter Dornfeld.
Ben Klemmeck holds the Mountain Lion records in the 1,500 meters, mile and 3,200 meters; brother Josiah is No. 2 in the LBHS record book in the 1,500 meters. Dornfeld holds the third-fastest Liberty Bell time in the 3,000 meters.
With its first meet just 10 days away, the team has recruited an abundance of runners from the ranks of both high school and junior high athletes this year.
Coach Craig Herlihy counted 28 prospects at an early season practice and may pick up a few more as school gets underway.
“I think a number of them turned out for the team because of the good performance we had at state last year,” Herlihy said of the fifth-place finish.
Other XC team members include seniors Emmett Fink, Trent Skelton and Garett Palm; juniors Geza Sukovaty and Koharu Yonebayashi; freshmen Eli Neilsen, Tim Haley and MacKenzie Woodworth; and a host of junior high prospects including eighth-graders Emerson Worrell, Peter Aspholm, Sam Neitlich, Lazo Gitchos, Zach Strong, Ian Dornfeld, Sage Borgias, Larkin Lucy, Lucy Cole and Icel Sukovaty.
Seventh-graders include Novie McCabe, Gretta Scholz, Logan Hall, Shay Crandall and Caleb Nielsen.
The Mountain Lions begin their season on Sept. 13 at the Asotin XC Island Invitational in Clarkston.