By Mike Maltais
The Liberty Bell High School varsity boys’ cross-country team cruised to its fifth consecutive Central Washington District Six B League championship on the LBHS campus last Saturday, when five Mountain Lions finished among the top 10 at the end of the 3.1-mile course.
Led by junior Ben Klemmeck, who placed second with a time of 17 minutes, 13.14 seconds, a line of green jerseys worn by Josiah Klemmeck, third, Eli Nielsen, sixth, Willy Duguay, seventh, and Garett Palm, ninth, loped through the finish lane as the only team to place more than one runner in the top 10. Carter Dornfeld finished 31st.
Ben Klemmeck ran a strong race and led throughout the course until the final 400 meters across the football field to the finish line. As Klemmeck and eventual winner Oren Cox of Bridgeport emerged from the race course onto the grassy field, the Mustang runner cut into the lead and caused Klemmeck to break his stride. Klemmeck recovered quickly, but Cox finished first in 17:06.4, three seconds shy of the LBHS course time.
Koharu Yonebayashi finished an impressive fifth among girls with
Mackenzie Woodworth placing 13th.
An overcast sky and cool temperature threatened rain all morning but the drops didn’t actually start to fall until the boys’ race concluded. Hardy locals who showed up for the free 1.5-mile public run following the varsity events got wet in the process.
The dominating win makes Liberty Bell the team to beat in the 1B/2B District 5-6 meet on Saturday (Nov. 1) at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee, beginning at 11 a.m.
Assistant coach Erik Brooks patrolled the course as the Mountain Lions battled competitors and the clock on the winding trail and had observations about each athlete.
Yonebayashi: “A hard first and a gutsy second mile put Koharu across the line in her best performance of the year.”
Woodworth: “Another solid race … with a first mile quicker than last week, and a second mile that did not waiver much; it is great to see her challenging the distance.”
Dornfeld: “A solid effort on a bothersome foot … but you finished. We know you have a sub-6:25 paced effort and a new 5-kilometer PR in you for state.”
Palm: “Outstanding. Closing on 6 minutes and you will get there.”
Duguay: “Great job in pacing out there. Controlled and confident as expected.”
Nielsen: “Solid again … your poise and confidence as a young runner continue to impress.”
Josiah Klemmeck: “Thirty seconds faster on this course than you were last year while running much of it totally alone and chasing a faster-than-expected pace.”
Ben Klemmeck: “Just like Liam [Daily] last year, you’ve been super solid in that 5:33-5:29 pace all season.”
Brooks predicts that Ben Klemmeck will run a sub-5:25 pace at state. So far this year, the LBHS 1,500-meter, mile and 3,200-meter record-holder has finished first at the Chelan, Manson and Bridgeport invitationals, second at Oroville and Leavenworth, third at the big Kettle Falls Can-Am and among the top 10 at both Wenatchee and Asotin Island.
1 Liberty Bell 27
2 Tonasket 70
3 Lake Roosevelt 78
4 Manson 99
5 Riverside Christian 107
6 Bridgeport 112
LBHS BOYS’ RESULTS
2 Ben Klemmeck, Liberty Bell, 17:13.14
3 Josiah Klemmeck, Liberty Bell, 17:54.46
6 Eli Nielsen, Liberty Bell, 18:26.51
7 Willy Duguay, Liberty Bell, 18:29.61
9 Garett Palm, Liberty Bell, 18:55.51
31 Carter Dornfeld, Liberty Bell, 21:28.24
LBHS GIRLS’ RESULTS
5 Koharu Yonebayashi, Liberty Bell, 23:38.53
13 Mackenzie Woodworth, Liberty Bell, 28:55.07