By Rick Lewis
There wasn’t much that one could consider normal about Saturday’s (Feb. 27) cross country meet at Moses Lake’s Blue Heron Park: It was an early-season meet including schools of multiple classes, the sun was out, and a green-clad Mountain Lion girl was out in front of the pack.
The 50-ish temperature served as a promise of warmer days of spring and summer. There were only two races, high school boys’ and girls’ varsity. The course was shortened to a 2-mile event from the normal 3.1 miles.
The field of about 50 young boys and 19 girls was less than half the normal turnout. Indeed, Liberty Bell’s contingent of only two girls and three boys was the first time in a number of years the Mountain Lions didn’t have at least one scoring team at the varsity level at any meet.
Liberty Bell freshman Leki Albright ran the first half of the race hanging with the leaders, getting a feel for the course and distance, then continued a steady pace while others around her faltered, placing first by 34 seconds over Ephrata’s Alexa Laughlin.
“Leki ran a super smart race,” coach Erik Brooks said. Brooks said that a group of runners went out pretty fast while Albright maintained an even pace and ran past the competition in the second lap of the two-lap race. Sandra Hernandez, another Mountain Lion freshman, placed 12th in her first race.
Will Halpin, another freshman, proved he was ready to move up with a competitive 8th-place finish among the varsity boys. “He found a runner from Lake Roosevelt and just ran with him,” said Brooks.
Only :07 seconds separated Halpin from fifth place. Sophomore Isaiah Stoothoff placed 13th and freshman Kyler Mitchell crossed the line in 22nd place, putting all three Liberty Bell runners in the top half of the field.
The Moses Lake competition was the first of a six-meet season that will culminate with a yet-to-be-scheduled, all-class regional meet at Wenatchee’s Walla Walla Point City Park in late March.
Next up for the Mountain Lion runners is this Saturday’s Okanogan High School Race at the Okanogan Golf Course, featuring only Class B schools. The Liberty Bell runners will get a good look at their regional small school competition.
Other stops include March 13 at Eastmont High School, March 20 at Walla Walla Point Park in Wenatchee, and a small school league meet at Manson, date to be determined.
Volleyball sweeps Royal, Warden
The Mountain Lion spikers traveled to Royal City for a three-way double header with the 2B Warden Cougars and 1A Royal Knights to open their 2020 COVID-delayed season. Liberty Bell opened play with a three-set victory over Warden, 25-18, 26-24, 25-11. The girls then capped their trip with another straight-set win over the Royal Knights, 25-20, 25-13, 25-10.
Jadyn Mitchell led the way with 19 kills on the day; Ellie Blank led service aces with seven and added 10 kills over the two matches. Shae Taylor added another four kills and four aces in the Royal match, and freshman Pearl McArthur stepped in to contribute three service aces of her own.
The Mountain Lions “had some jitters,” according to head coach Christine Scott, “but overall, performed well.” Getting on the court for the first time since practice opened three weeks ago, the girls had been itching for competition.
Liberty Bell hosts Brewster and Lake Roosevelt in another double-header on Saturday (March 6).
Soccer girls tumble at Tonasket
With still about 18 inches of hard-packed snow on the Liberty Bell fields, finding practice space has been difficult for the Mountain Lions and the girls have been working out inside the Eagle Gym at the elementary school.
They ran into tough sledding at Tonasket (which has been snow-free for about a month) on Saturday (Feb. 27), falling to the Tigers 7-0. Liberty Bell faced Brewster on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m., score not available at press time, and will travel to Okanogan for a match with the Bulldogs on Thursday (March 4).
First year head coach Katie Overbeck said that it was “amazing we get to be here. We got to be together and play a game we all love.” The Mountain Lions fielded just 11 players, and then lost one to injury mid-game.
The schedule, subject to change depending on conditions, has the girls on the road for all games except the last scheduled regular season match, on April 4 when they entertain the Omak Pioneers.
Mountain Lion notes
• Liberty Bell football hits the road to face Almira-Coulee-Hartline this Saturday for their opening date with the Warriors in B 8-man-football. Thanks to Jerry Palm and his rather large snow thrower, the team is using a portion of the high school baseball field for practice. At this time, there are no home games scheduled through the end of March.
• Icel Sukovaty, Liberty Bell 2018 graduate and a member of the three-peat state champion girls’ cross country team, has turned up on the varsity track and field squad for the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets in upstate New York. She recently placed third as her team swept the top four spots in a 1-mile race at Nazareth University in Pittsford, New York.
•Spectators are not yet permitted at any events, per COVID-19 state and WIAA protocols. Activities Director Michael Wilbur has provided a free link to streamed home events: www.nfhsnetwork.com/schools/liberty-bell-juniorseniorschool-winthrop-wa.