By Don Nelson
Liberty Bell High School’s resurgent varsity girls’ cross-country team won a trophy for the first time in 10 years with a first-place finish on Saturday (Sept. 26) at the Trojan Invite in Manson.
And the girls did it with four freshmen and a senior, suggesting that they are just beginning to realize their potential, said coach Craig Herlihy.
It was a clean sweep for the Mountain Lions, as the boys’ varsity and junior high teams, and the girls’ junior high team, also took first place.
For the varsity girls, freshman Athena Milani led the way with a second-place finish over the 5,000-meter course. She was followed by senior Ella Hall in fourth, and freshmen Ava Mott, Icel Sukovaty and Sage Borgias in fifth, sixth and eighth respectively.
On the boys’ side, senior Ben Klemmeck took his third straight victory of the season, winning by more than 40 seconds. He was followed by sophomore Eli Nielsen in fourth, freshman Emerson Worrell in eighth, junior Carter Dornfeld in 10th, and sophomore Tim Haley in 20th. Junior Cameron Quinn finished just out of the scoring, a few seconds behind Haley.
For the junior high teams, Walker Hall, Ian Delong and Travis Grialou finished first, second and third, and the junior high girls also swept the top three spots with Novie McCabe first, Rivers Leeman second and Liv Aspholm in third.
“Everybody took care of business,” Herlihy said. He said the race was also an opportunity for runners to see if they could earn one of the top seven spots in the varsity lineup. Freshman Lazo Gitchos finished seventh among the Mountain Lion boys’ varsity runners at Manson.
Herlihy said he was pleased with the varsity girls’ progress, singling out Milani as a runner who has the potential to be in the Liberty Bell record books.
“We’re where we want to be in mid-season,” Herlihy said.
On Saturday (Oct. 3), the Mountain Lions will travel to Kettle Falls for the Can-Am Invitational, where 17 teams including seven from B league schools are expected to compete. “It’s a good litmus test for us,” Herlihy said.
Liberty Bell will be without Klemmeck, Hall and Geza Sukovaty, seniors who will be taking the SAT this weekend, Herlihy said. However, Cade Quigley will be running for the first time this season for the boys, the coach said.