Liberty cross country team dashes to district championship

November 1, 2011

By Sebastian Moraga

Liberty High School's varsity girls cross country team (left) came in second to Mercer Island (right) Oct. 21 at KingCo, but paid back the Islanders Oct. 27 by winning to become Sea-King District 3A cross country champions. File

The girls from Liberty High School repeated as Sea-King District 3A cross country champions Oct. 27 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

The Patriots avenged a defeat to Mercer Island at the previous week’s KingCo Conference championship meet, beating the runner-up Islanders by six points.

Liberty finished with 69 points. Mercer Island had 75 points.

Allie Wood, junior, led Liberty by finishing sixth in the 3.1-mile race with a time of 19 minutes, 27.52 seconds, breaking her own personal record by a half-minute.

Megan Chucka, junior, finished 13th in 19:42.66 and Megan Larson, sophomore, was 15th in 19:43.32.

Rounding out Liberty’s top five runners were Amy Broska, sophomore, 21st in 19:56.89, and Sara Bliesner, freshman, 23rd in 20:05.51.

Wood, Chucka and Larson set new personal records at the district meet, where the first 25 individuals and top five teams advanced to state.

Liberty had two other runners in the field, Rachel Shaw, junior, who finished 53rd and Aimee Christensen, senior, who was 63rd.

The win fulfilled the Patriots’ desire to hold on to its 2010 district title. The Patriot girls will travel to the Class 3A state meet for the second time in the team’s history. The first time was in 2010.

Larson and her teammates said that state meet is big, but the district meet was bigger.

“This is the last important race of the season,” she said.

Liberty coach Michael Smith said the district meet gathered some of the best runners in the state, so a good performance almost guarantees a good showing in Pasco.

“Getting there is so exciting, but to get there, you have to do well here,” Smith said. “We were nervous last week and this week. Next week we’re just going to have fun.”

Five out of the seven Liberty female runners topped their personal marks in Pasco last year, Larson said.

Katia Matora, of Mercer Island, was the individual champion. She won the race in 18:22.13.

Among the Liberty boys, Hiron Redman endured a tough race but still managed to earn a ticket east, finishing 21st.

“Lots of idiots, going way too hard, just would not get out of the way,” he said of the race.

Redman said he forced himself to kick it into one extra gear when he saw the “idiots” would not clear the way. He finished the race in a time of 16:34.44, breaking by more than 12 seconds the personal record he set a week earlier at the KingCo championships.

Redman said he felt satisfied with his performance.

“My only dream is to see the whole team go,” Redman said.

That looked unlikely. A crowded field and the high level of competition relegated male Liberty runners, so Redman will be without his chums in the Tri-Cities. Liberty boys finished seventh with 204 points.

Rounding out the Patriots’ top five were Aaron Bowe in 44th place, Tyler Westenbroek in 48th place, Mason Goodman in 53rd place and Nick Knoblich in 57th place.

Bellevue saw its top five runners place in the top 10 and won the boys’ title with 30 points.

Joe Hardy, of Seattle Prep, was the individual champion. He won the race in 15:36.25.

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