Runners hope to improve on last year’s finishes
By Don Nelson
Liberty Bell High School’s boys’ and girls’ cross-country teams head into the state meet in Pasco on Saturday (Nov. 5) with first-place trophies from the 1B/2B District 5-6 championships last weekend.
Both teams were repeat winners — a sixth consecutive victory for the boys and second consecutive trophy for the girls — at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee.
The girls’ squad, led once again by freshman Novie McCabe in first place, took seven of the top 10 places for 17 points and an easy win over second-place Tri-Cities Prep in the 3-mile race. Fellow freshman Gretta Scholz, consistently Liberty Bell’s second finisher all season, took that spot again while sophomore Athena Milani put on a furious kick to claim third place.
Junior Eli Nielsen took third place for the boys’ team to lead Liberty Bell, which scored 33 points to second-place Tonasket’s 51 on the same 3-mile course. Wes Olive and Walker Hall ran identical times, with Olive being awarded sixth place and Hall seventh.
The junior varsity boys’ team, led by Simon Studen in first place, also was winner with 38 points to second-place Tonasket’s 47. There was no team scoring in the junior varsity girls’ race, but Liberty Bell’s Lucy Cole took first place with a time that would have placed her eighth in the varsity race.
“One goal down, one to go,” said Liberty Bell coach Craig Herlihy. “Their goal all season has been to make it to state, and to the podium [a top-four finish in team competition].” Last year, the boys’ team was sixth and the girl’s team fifth at the state meet.
“We don’t have to do anything supernatural,” Herlihy said of the state meet. “If we run strong and smart, good things can happen. They have to believe in themselves and their teammates.”
Herlihy said that McCabe, who is unbeaten this year, will face strong competition at Pasco. Scholz has also had an impressive season, Herlihy said. “She has been so solid all year … we know what we’re going to get from her in every meet … she’s been running by herself in many races,” the coach said.
Milani finished fifth in the state meet last year as a freshman. “She has an outstanding kick,” Herlihy said.
Liberty Bell with take teams of seven boys and seven girls to the state meet, plus two alternates for each team in case someone is not able to compete. Liberty Bell does have some runners who have been tested at the state meet before. Icel Sukovaky, Ava Mott and Sage Borgias were on last year’s team for the girls. Nielsen, Cade Quigley, Carter Dornfeld, Emerson Worrell and Peter Aspholm competed for the boys’ team at state last year.
Two meets earlier in the week, plus steady rain before Saturday’s racing started, left the course at in Wenatchee in mushy and somewhat treacherous condition.
“It was a sloppy course, even with spikes,” Herlihy said. “The runners had to be cautious on the turns.”
In the league and district championship meets, Liberty Bell keyed on other teams it hoped to beat. At state, Herlihy said, the priority will be on finishing positions, since the team with lowest number of cumulative points based on its top five finishers will be the victor.
The WIAA Dairy Farmers of Washington/Les Schwab Tires State Championship Cross Country Meet will be held at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco. The Liberty Bell teams will leave for Pasco on Friday morning and arrive in time to get a look at the course in the afternoon, Herlihy said.
Liberty Bell finishers, 1B/2B in the District 5-6 championships
Varsity boys, 3 miles
Team scores: Liberty Bell 33, Tonasket 51, Brewster 75, Tri-Cities Prep 111, Manson 130, White Swan 164, Bickleton 201, Liberty Christian 203, Oroville 237, Yakama Nation Tribal 287, Bridgeport 317.
3. Eli Nielsen 17:05
6. Wes Olive 17:40
7. Walker Hall 17:40
9. Cade Quigley 17:52
13. Emerson Worrell 18:02
28. Lazo Gitchos 18:53
30. Carter Dornfeld 18:56
Varsity girls, 3 miles
Team scores: Liberty Bell 17, Tri-Cities Prep 64, Tonasket 64, White Swan 105
1. Novie McCabe 18:34
2. Gretta Scholz 19:31
3. Athena Milani 19:59
6. Rivers Leeman 20:40
7. Ice Sukovaty 20:51
8. Ava Mott 21:04
10. Taya DeLong 21:52
Junior varsity girls, 3 miles
1. Lucy Cole 21:03
3. Sage Borgias 26:31
Junior varsity boys, 3 miles
Team scores: Liberty Bell 38, Tonasket 47, Tri-Cities Prep 61, Brewster 67
1. Simon Studen 19:20
2. Tim Haley 19:36
5. Henry Jones 20:01
13. Logan Hall 21:46
18. Zach Strong 22:23
19. Michael Mott 22:42