By Don Nelson
The Liberty Bell High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams gave a big home crowd plenty to applaud at the B League championships on Saturday (Oct. 24).
Both teams took first place; Liberty Bell runners won the boys’ and girls’ races; and Mountain Lion senior Ben Klemmeck broke the 5,000-meter course record while leading everyone to the finish in the 5,000-meter boys’ race. On the girls’ side, freshman Athena Milani cruised to a win and senior Ella Hall took second, pacing the Lady Lions to the team trophy in the 5k race.
Coach Craig Herlihy said that, according to his research, it was the first time since 1998 that both the boys’ and girls’ teams won the league championship in the same year.
This season was the first in 10 years that the Liberty Bell girls had enough participants to field a scoring team (a minimum of five runners is required).
Spectators lined both sides of the finish chute to cheer the runners on a perfect fall day at the Liberty Bell course, which loops around behind the football field and affords an unusual number of spots from which to watch the races.
“It’s the biggest crowd I’ve seen here,” Herlihy said.
In the boys’ race, sophomore Eli Nielsen took fourth place, sophomore Cade Quigley was ninth, freshman Emerson Worrell 10th and junior Carter Dornfeld 13th to complete the Mountain Lions’ scoring.
Milani and Hall were followed by freshman Icel Sukovaty in fourth, freshman Ava Mott in ninth and freshman Johanna Vollmer in 12th.
Next up for Liberty Bell is the district championship meet on Saturday (Oct. 31) at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee, where the Mountain Lions will encounter the same teams they faced last weekend plus a few other schools, Herlihy said.
The top three boys’ teams at the district meet will move on to the state championships in Pasco on Nov. 7, but only the top girls’ team will advance — which means the Lady Lions have to win the team title to go to state. The top 15 individual boys’ finishers and top five individual girls’ finishers will go to the state meet even if their entire team does not.
Herlihy said he likes his teams’ chances if they run as well as they did last weekend.
Liberty Bell High School finishers
B League championship
VARSITY/JUNIOR VARSITY BOYS, 5,000 METERS
1. Ben Klemmeck, senior, 16:55
4. Eli Nielsen, sophomore, 17:48
9. Cade Quigley, sophomore, 18:41
10. Emerson Worrell, freshman, 18:50
13. Carter Dornfeld, junior, 19:24
21. Peter Aspholm, freshman, 19:56
25. Tim Haley, sophomore, 20:05
26. Geza Sukovaty, senior, 20:15
40. Lazo Gitchos, freshman, 20:51
48. Cameron Quinn, sophomore, 21:10
58. Simon Studen, freshman, 21:29
73. Sam Neitlich, freshman, 24:00
74. Michael Mott, freshman, 24:13
75. Zach Strong, freshman, 24:31
Team scores: Liberty Bell 37, Brewster 80, Tonasket 107, Bridgeport 110, Manson 127, Okanogan 128, Riverside Christian 157, Lake Roosevelt 181, Oroville 211, Entiat incomplete
VARSITY GIRLS, 5,000 METERS
1. Athena Milani, freshman, 21:02
2. Ella Hall, senior, 21:21
4. Icel Sukovaty, freshman, 21:39
9. Ava Mott, freshman, 22:58
12. Johanna Vollmer, freshman, 25:46
16. Sage Borgias, freshman, 27:30
18. Larkin Lucy, freshman, 29:27