All fall Liberty Bell sports honored by WIAA
Liberty Bell’s girls’ soccer program was once again named the top academic program of the state’s 2B schools, by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. With a team grade point average (GPA) of 3.852, the team had the highest grades of any other program competing in 2021 2B class for soccer. It is the tenth time LBH’s Girls soccer has won the award since the program was created in the fall 2001, and the 24th academic title for Liberty Bell in all sports since the WIAA started the Academic Champions program in 1999.
“The rest of our fall squads were no slouches either,” said Activities Director Michael Wilbur. “The football and volleyball teams have earned the Distinguished Team Award for a GPA between 3.00 and 3.49 and the cross country team has earned an Outstanding Team Award for GPAs of 3.776 (boys) and 3.925 (girls).” The girls were very close to adding another title, but St. George’s (Spokane) earned the top honor at 3.930, just .005 ahead of the Mountain Lions.
WIAA also awards an annual Scholastic Cup at the end of each academic year that recognizes the top teams with both academic and athletic success. That award is calculated using a formula combining athletics with academics and sportsmanship. The Scholastic Cup was initiated in 2013. Liberty Bell’s best finish was fourth in the 2B class in the 2015-16 and 2016-2017 academic years. The Mountain Lions also have a fifth-place finish and two sixth places in the Scholastic Cup.
“If you want to measure the health and wellness of a community, look at how it supports its youth,” Superintendent Tom Venable wrote in a statement. “Past and present, to receive the honor of WIAA 2B Academic State Champion, let alone be recognized as distinguished or outstanding, is a clear reflection of the Methow Valley’s dedication and commitment to supporting the health and well-being of our young people.”
Venable noted that 85% to 90% of the students at Liberty Bell participate in one or more athletic programs each year. “It speaks to the district’s balanced approach, emphasizing the academic, social-emotional, and physical development of every student,” he said.
Girls soccer coach Katie Overbeck was obviously pleased and proud of the classroom accomplishments of her playoff-bound team this week. She said having motivated players academically is a strong benefit on the field of play.
“Soccer is a very cerebral sport where the athlete has to think and respond quickly,” she said. “Beyond the game, when players have dead time at practice they are often working on homework, and helping their teammates with homework.” Overbeck used that example as evidence that the school side of sports can also help build and reinforce the team ethic off the field, as well.
Mountain Lion Soccer Girls leads all Liberty Bell Sports in Academic State Championships. Six of those came in an eight-year span between 2009 and 2016. Cross country has earned seven (three for the girls and four for the boys), girls tennis has three, girls track and field, girls volleyball, girls basketball and wrestling each have one. The team will receive its award during the state tournament.