Liberty High School relay buddies take final trip to podium

May 29, 2012

By Sebastian Moraga

Josh Gordon (left), Liberty High School senior, gets the baton handoff from teammate Hiron Redman for the anchor leg of the 4x400 3A state championship relay race May 26 in Tacoma. By Greg Farrar

Hiron Redman could barely believe it.

“Wow,” he thought. “This is it.”

After knowing one another since middle school, which they attended together, Liberty High School’s Redman, Hamilton Noel, Joe Bergmann and Josh Gordon would race together for the last time.

Bergmann and Redman are juniors, but their two pals are graduating. And the 4×400 relay race at the state meet May 26 was probably the last time they would all suit up in uniforms of the same color.

To boot, it had not been their finest meet, so they all felt extra pressure to put on a good show at their farewell race.

“None of us did as well as we wanted to this weekend,” Noel said. “So we were trying to make this one count.”

That, they did, earning third place at state, among what Noel called the highest level of competition they had faced this year.

“We won this last year, and we were hoping to repeat,” he added. “But third is not bad at all.”

Neither is fifth, the overall finish for the Liberty boys at state.

Gordon finished tied for fifth in the high jump with 6 feet, 4 inches. He won the long jump with 22 feet, 8 inches, but still had his heart broken by the triple jump, which he finished in third place and in tears.

Bergmann finished 11th in the high jump, with 6 feet. Noel finished seventh in the pole vault, with 13 feet. Trevor Merritt finished 10th in the javelin with 166 feet, 8 inches.

Redman finished fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1 minute, 54.21 seconds, a second shy of his personal best.

“I wanted to stay with (race-winner) Izaic (York) for as long as I could,” Redman said. “Then, I just blew up at the end. I didn’t have the kick.”

Still, the duel with the record-setting York, from Lakes High School, proved fruitful for Redman.

“It was fun to go up against him and realize that maybe next year…” he said, leaving that thought hang in the Tacoma breeze.

That same breeze made Liberty pole vaulter Danielle Richards a little nervous at first.

“The wind was a little iffy,” she said. “But once I started running, I didn’t feel it.”

Richards set a personal best and a school record in the pole vault with 10 feet, 6 inches. She finished in a three-way tie for fourth place.

“I feel very good,” she said. “But also a little sad because the season is ending and this is my senior year.”

The girls finished tied for 28th overall.

Alexis McGinnis finished 15th in the shot put, with 31 feet, 1.25 inches. Anna Frodsham finished 15th in the javelin, with 101 feet. Emily Pestl-Dimmitt finished one spot below.

The 4×400 team of Ryker, Kelley Johnson, Michaela Chucka and Aimee Christensen finished fifth with 4 minutes, 2.54 seconds. The 4×100 relay team of Cherelle and Danielle Demps, Elizabeth Ryker and Richards finished sixth, in 50.12 seconds.

Lastly, Richards’ last state go-round was Megan Chucka’s first. The long distance runner finished 14th in the 1,600 meters and 15th in the 3,200 meters.

The junior said she felt kind of tired during the races, but would still cherish her first long season with the track team.

“Even if I’m not running with the top dogs, I can look at them and aspire to go faster,” she said.

Four of said dogs marveled at how six years of friendship had translated into state medals.

“We had the biggest chemistry,” Redman said. “We love each other.”

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