By Erik Brooks
With a combined team score of 199 points far out-distancing Kittitas (177), and Bridgeport (158.5), the Liberty Bell High School track teams proved more than capable at last Friday’s 2B District 5/6 Championships. Ten girls and four boys qualified in a combination of individual races and relays, and Liberty Bell athletes move on to state with representation in thirteen different events.
The girls dominated the track, winning the meet with 150 points. The boys moved up one spot relative to their sub-district tally by finishing seventh overall with 49 points, well within striking distance of both Tonasket (53) and Brewster (55).
On the boys’ side, this improved position came in large part due to high placing and personal record (PR) performances. Emerson Worrell led the charge with a district championship performance and a four-second PR in the 800 meters. And Brayden White and Seth Stevie both ran personal bests to second- and third-place finishes in the 300M hurdles.
On the heels of a 15-second PR and a gutsy fourth-place finish, Eli Neilsen led a chase pack of five runners in only his third 3200M of the season.
Nick Fitzmaurice narrowly missed qualifying for state with fifth place in the 800 meters. And Zane Herrera concluded his Liberty Bell track career with a hard-fought seventh-place performance in the shot put. His 36-00 throw was shy of a season best, but Herrera’s contributions to this team and the season run far deeper than places or qualifying marks.
Boyish strength and verve morphed into lioness intimidation and resolve as the Lady Lions brought the heat to an otherwise mild 75 degree afternoon. Maya Sheely surged from the blocks to a district championship performance and PR in the 200 meters. She was closely followed by Athena Milani, who moved a fifth-place “on the bubble” performance at sub-districts into a fourth-place qualifier for state.
The tide of green surged higher in the 400M, with Lucy Cole, Danielle Mott, and Sally Thornton-White repeating their sub-district qualifying prowess with a 1-2-4 performance. The pride of Lions reached its apex in the 1-2-3-4 sweep of the girl’s 800M by Cole, Danielle Mott, Gretta Scholz, and Ava Mott.
In the longer distances, Scholz and Ava Mott qualified for a second state competition in the 1600M run. Icel Sukovaty is also state-bound again as a repeat qualifier for the 3200M.
Track domination continued with Sheely winning the 100M hurdles, senior leader Lauren Fitzmaurice qualifying with a season-best in fourth, and Cassidy Butler making her final mark of the season in sixth place. Milani set a new PR (and currently eighth best time in the state) winning the 300M hurdles.
And finally, consistency and patience paid off for freshman Willow Temple as she finished with a state-qualifying fourth place in the high jump. On the hop-skip-jump side, Haley Post’s new triple jump PR was good for eighth place, but not quite enough to move on in 2017. With many on the team new to field events, it was great to have district representation at all, and coach Katie Leuthauser is excited to build on these performances in the years ahead.
The state meet begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday (May 25) at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.