Liberty High School girls win KingCo 3A cross country title

October 23, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

Megan Chucka, Allie Wood and Sarah Bliesner (from left), Liberty High School runners, recover their breath after finishing second, fourth and eighth to help the Patriots win the school’s first-ever team girls KingCo 3A Cross Country Championship Oct. 19 at Lake Sammamish State Park.By Greg Farrar

When a key contributor from last year’s Liberty High School girls cross country team went down with an injury before the season, head coach Mike Smith was understandably crushed.

“You know we had really high hopes to do better than last year, and to lose one of your better runners was really upsetting,” he said.

While Amy Broska’s talent and leadership were missed this season, it didn’t stop the Patriots from capturing the 2012 KingCo 3A cross country title Oct. 18 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Liberty defeated defending KingCo champs Mercer Island by 28 points to capture the school’s first KingCo cross country title. It was a sweet victory for the Patriots, who lost to Mercer Island in a tiebreaker at last year’s event.

Led by senior standout Megan Chucka, the Patriots finished the 3.1-mile race with a team average time of 19 minutes, 49 seconds.

Chucka placed second and ran one of the fastest Patriot finals ever with a time of 19:19. The performance was just another notch in what has been a dominant year for the senior leader.

“Megan has been great,” Smith said. “She’s just pretty much put it on her shoulders that she was just going to take the team back to state and do better this year.”

But it took a true team effort to capture the title, and Liberty’s depth shined through at the event.

In addition to Chucka’s second-place finish, the Patriots had two other runners place in the top 10. Allie Wood came in fourth with a time of 19:27 and Sarah Bliesner took eighth in 19:39.

The Patriots also had strong performances from Rachel Shaw, Megan Larson, Jordan Raymond and freshman Carlyn Schmidgall.

“All of the girls really focused over the summer,” Smith said. “You know, running as a group and training really hard so that as a group, they are all running better than they ever have before.”

Next up, the girls will compete in the Sea-King District 3A championships Oct. 25 at Lower Woodland Park.

Liberty has won the last two district championships and they will look to make it a three-peat after the contest.

Liberty boys place fourth

The Liberty boys placed fourth at the KingCo 3A cross country championships behind strong runs by Hiron Redman, who placed seventh with a time of 16:45, and Aaron Bowe who came in 10th with a time of 16:49.

The fourth-place finish was good enough to advance to next week’s district meet.

“They are pretty excited now, because I think they see that there is a chance, if they have great races next week, to continue on with the season,” Smith said.

The boys finished their regular season with a 5-2 record, an encouraging sign for a young Patriot squad, Smith said.

“The bulk of the team is really young, a lot of freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “So, it’s just exciting for them just to get this experience.”

Next up, the boys will join the girls and compete in the Sea-King District 3A championships Oct. 25 at Lower Woodland Park.

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