Freshmen phenoms

January 7, 2014

Liberty’s fall sports underclassmen take the stage

By Greg Farrar Liberty High School freshmen varsity athletes, swimmer Sydney Hartford, cross country twin sisters Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi and football player Noah Pritchett, stand by a poster in the Liberty High School commons proclaiming ‘We Are One,’ the motto of Patriot athletes and their student body fans.

By Greg Farrar
Liberty High School freshmen varsity athletes, swimmer Sydney Hartford, cross country twin sisters Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi and football player Noah Pritchett, stand by a poster in the Liberty High School commons proclaiming ‘We Are One,’ the motto of Patriot athletes and their student body fans.

Less than a year ago, Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi, Sydney Hartford and Noah Pritchett roamed the halls at Maywood Middle School.

Fast forward to their first year at Liberty High School. Three of them have competed among the top athletes in the state, while the fourth has found a place on a varsity squad that rarely makes room for freshmen.

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Patriot runners finish in top 10 at state

November 12, 2013

Brigette Takeuchi places fourth overall

It says something about the strength of a program when its athletes and coaches are disappointed, even after a weekend in which the team posted its best performance ever at the state competition.

That’s what it means to be a Liberty High School cross-country participant, where the expectations are high, but certainly attainable, Patriots coach Mike Smith said.

By Mike Smith Brigette Takeuchi, Liberty High School freshman, runs her the way to a fourth place finish in her first state championship Nov. 9.

By Mike Smith
Brigette Takeuchi, Liberty High School freshman, runs her the way to a fourth place finish in her first state championship Nov. 9.

The Liberty girls cross-country team was determined to finish in the top four at the 2013 state competition in Pasco Nov. 9. The Patriots had a good chance, too, given they were ranked third in the state coming into the meet.

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Skyline girls place eighth in state cross country

November 12, 2013

The Skyline High School girls cross country team capped its 2013 season with a 10th-place finish Nov. 9 at the Class 4A state championships.

Skyline’s girls were making their first state appearance in eight seasons. They scored 245 to place 10th out of 16 teams in attendance. Bellarmine Prep was the 4A girls champion, followed by Camas, Tahoma and Central Valley.

By Neil Pierson Maizy Brewer, Skyline High School sophomore, nears the finish line at the Nov. 4 bi-district championships. Brewer finished fourth overall as the Skyline girls qualified for state for the first time in eight seasons.

By Neil Pierson
Maizy Brewer, Skyline High School sophomore, nears the finish line at the Nov. 4 bi-district championships. Brewer finished fourth overall as the Skyline girls qualified for state for the first time in eight seasons.

Skyline sophomore Maizy Brewer paced her team with a medal-winning time of 18 minutes, 27.9 seconds, good for 11th place among individuals. Senior teammate Alex Daugherty, who hadn’t competed in cross country prior to the season, finished 27th in 19:03.71.

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Liberty’s boys cross-country team makes history

November 5, 2013

Heading into the 2013 Sea-King District meet Oct. 31, the Liberty boys cross-country team knew it would take the perfect race to qualify for state.

They knew they had the talent, Liberty coach Mike Smith said, but nothing is ever a given in the competitive Sea-King District.

Photos by Greg Farrar Above, the chanting in a rally huddle deafens as the Liberty High School boys’ varsity cross country team prepares to race, and the girls’ varsity joins in for support after their finish minutes before, as both teams made state together for the first time in school history Oct. 24 during the SeaKing District 2 championship at Lake Sammamish State Park. At right, senior Aaron Bowe heads up the backstretch of the final lap to a second-place finish.

Photos by Greg Farrar
The chanting in a rally huddle deafens as the Liberty High School boys’ varsity cross country team prepares to race, and the girls’ varsity joins in for support after their finish minutes before, as both teams made state together for the first time in school history Oct. 24 during the SeaKing District 2 championship at Lake Sammamish State Park.

“As a team, that was their goal, they wanted to go to state and they knew with the senior group we had this year, it was probably the best chance we’ve had in a long time,” he said.

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Schrag, Clawson solidify status as Eagles’ top runners

October 22, 2013

Their teams haven’t had the type of season they were hoping for, but Issaquah High School runners Kennan Schrag and Ellie Clawson aren’t being deterred from their individual goals.

Schrag, a sophomore, topped the boys field, and Clawson, a junior, won the girls race when Issaquah squared off with Skyline and Newport in an Oct. 16 KingCo Conference cross country race at Bellevue’s Kelsey Creek Park.

In the boys race, Issaquah fell short of rival Skyline, which captured the team win with 34 points. However, the Eagles (48 points) won a tiebreaker and defeated Newport for their second win of the season.

By Neil Pierson Ellie Clawson, Issaquah High School junior, breaks away from the pack early on, winning in 19 minutes, 59 seconds at an Oct. 16 KingCo cross country race against Newport and Skyline.

By Neil Pierson
Ellie Clawson, Issaquah High School junior, breaks away from the pack early on, winning in 19 minutes, 59 seconds at an Oct. 16 KingCo cross country race against Newport and Skyline.

Issaquah’s top three runners set the pace for the first half of the 3.1-mile race. Schrag, fellow sophomore Jacob Brueckman, and senior Caleb Walin got out quickly and formed their own pack.

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Skyline speeds past Roosevelt

April 9, 2013

The rain and wind didn’t let up April 4, and neither did the Skyline High School track and field team as it bested Roosevelt in both girls and boys events.

By Greg Farrar Nicole Cox (right), Skyline High School freshman, dashes to the 100-meter finish line for the win during the Spartans’ track meet April 4 against Roosevelt. Teammate and fellow freshman Stephanie Lunde (left) races close behind.

By Greg Farrar
Nicole Cox (right), Skyline High School freshman, dashes to the 100-meter finish line for the win during the Spartans’ track meet April 4 against Roosevelt. Teammate and fellow freshman Stephanie Lunde (left) races close behind.

The girls 800-meter relay team, composed of Alexis Daugherty, Dorie Dalzell, Kaylie Greninger and Brandy Hughes, started the Skyline Spartans with a win by edging out Roosevelt by a 2-second victory.

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Issaquah cross country coach is inducted into hall of fame

March 5, 2013

Gwen Robertson

Gwen Robertson

Longtime Issaquah High School Coach Gwen Robertson might just get used to plaudits in winter.

First, her husband was inducted in December 2011 into the USA Track and Field officials’ hall of fame. Then, in January of this year, Robertson received her own hall call.

The state’s cross country coaches association inducted Robertson, who has been involved with IHS teams since Ronald Reagan was a first-term president.

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Liberty High School cross country girls race to No. 5 spot

November 6, 2012

Liberty High School runners Megan Chucka (left) and Allie Wood run in tandem at the state cross-country championships held at the Sun Willows Golf Course on Nov. 3. By Mike Smith

To call the Liberty High School girls cross-country season a success would be an understatement.

The team, led by coach Mike Smith, brought home plenty of hardware this year, winning the KingCo 3A title for the first time in school history and capturing its third consecutive Sea-King District title.

Heading into the state championships, the team was ranked fourth in the state, its highest ranking ever.

At the Nov. 3 championships in Pasco, the Patriots placed fifth in what was the team’s best state finish ever.

But it was a bittersweet moment for the close-knit team, after star runner Megan Chucka suffered an asthma reaction during the race, preventing her from finishing in the individual top 10, as she had hoped, Smith said.

Still, the resilient Chucka, a senior, finished the race and even ran her best time at state with a time of 19 minutes, 56 seconds.

“You know, things can happen, you can get the flu, you can have an asthma attack and you can’t predict that,” Smith said. “Still, this is the very beginning of what I think is going to be a very long career for Megan.”

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Liberty Patriots cross country team punches ticket to Pasco

October 30, 2012

After claiming the KingCo 3A and the Sea-King District cross country meets in the past two weeks, the Liberty High School girls cross country team has punched its ticket to the state tournament next weekend in Pasco for an unprecedented third year in a row.

Participating in the tough Sea-King District tournament on the 3.1-mile Lower Woodland Park course in Seattle on Oct. 25, the Patriots ended up on top of the heap with 65 points.

The admirable effort was spearheaded by a tandem of Liberty seniors in Megan Chucka, who crossed the finish line a mere 15 seconds off the pace to take second, with a time of 18 minutes, 45 seconds, and fellow upperclassman Allie Wood, who snapped the twine in seventh place with a time of 19:26.

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Liberty High School girls win KingCo 3A cross country title

October 23, 2012

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.

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