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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Issaquah, Skyline runners power into cross country districts

October 23, 2012

Several area runners are heading to districts after strong finishes at the Oct. 18 KingCo 4A cross country league championships.

The race to stay alive in the post season took place at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, where 154 varsity runners vied for the top 40 finishes in the girls and boys races as only the top eight teams and top 40 individuals would qualify for the bi-district meet.

Making the cut were the Issaquah Eagles girls team, which finished in fourth place overall. Also qualifying were the Skyline Spartans boys team in sixth place and the girls team in seventh place.

Working to earn Issaquah that fourth-place finish was Cayla Seligman, who finished the 5,000 meter race in 19 minutes, 8.3 seconds to take seventh; Ellie Clawson came in 13th at 19:19.5; and Ellie Hendrickson was the 21st to cross the finish line at 19:46.6.

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Issaquah, Liberty runners place in top 10 at state

November 8, 2011

Sarah Bleisner (520), Liberty High School freshman, comes in just ahead of sophomore teammate Megan Larson, helping the Patriots to an eighth-place finish at the 3A state cross country championship Nov. 5 in Pasco. By Don Borin/www.donborin.con

Talented and young, the Issaquah and Liberty high school girls cross country teams showed great promise for the future when they finished among the top 10 teams at the state championships Nov. 5 in Pasco.

Issaquah, in the state meet for the first time in 13 years, finished 10th among the Class 4A teams.

Liberty, in the state meet for the second straight year, finished eighth among the Class 3A teams.

Issaquah, which had five freshmen on its team, finished the 4A meet with 274 points. The Eagles had the second-highest finish for a KingCo Conference 4A team. Redmond was third with 100 points. Tahoma won the state title with 88 points and Bellarmine Prep came in second with 99 points.

“We finished just about where I thought we should have been,” Issaquah coach Gwen Robertson said. “I was hoping for a top 10 finish and that’s where we were. We couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect. The girls all performed very well.”

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Liberty cross country team dashes to district championship

November 1, 2011

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.

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Issaquah cross country team qualifies for first state meet in 13 years

November 1, 2011

Some people maintain 13 is an unlucky number. However, they would have trouble convincing this fall’s Issaquah High School girls cross country team of that fact.

By placing fourth Oct. 29 at the Wes-King Bi-District 4A meet at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, the Eagles qualified for a state meet for the first time in 13 years.

To put it into a different perspective, some current members of the team were just 2 years old when the Eagles last sent a girls team to the state championship meet.

Issaquah will race in the Class 4A state meet Nov. 5 at Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

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Liberty girls cross country team gallops away with district title

October 28, 2011

NEW — 11:45 a.m. Oct. 28, 2011

The Liberty High School girls cross country team showed that history does repeat itself.

The Patriots, with four runners cracking the 20-minute mark, captured the Sea-King District 3A championship for the second straight year Thursday at Lake Sammamish State Park.

Liberty finished with 69 points. Mercer Island, which won the KingCo Conference 3A title the previous week, and Lakeside, of the Metro League, were second with 75 points.

The previous week Liberty finished second at the KingCo championships. It was a repeat of last year when Mercer Island won the KingCo title and Liberty was second only to see the Patriots come back to win the district championship.

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Liberty girls lose tiebreaker, finish No. 2 in KingCo cross country

October 25, 2011


Sara Bliesner takes the top girls finish among Liberty runners with a fifth-place, 19-minute, 52.42-second race on the 3.1 mile course at Lake Sammamish State Park. By Greg Farrar

The Liberty High School Patriots had five girls place in the top 20 at the KingCo Conference 3A cross country championships Oct. 21 at Lake Sammamish State Park.

The performance was good enough to force a tie with powerhouse Mercer Island. Both teams had 49 points.

However, the tiebreaker was the sixth runner on each team. Mercer Island’s finished 19th, and Liberty’s finished 24th, earning the Islanders the team championship.

It’s the second consecutive runner-up finish at KingCo for the Patriots. Liberty coach Mike Smith predicted a close finish.

“I told the girls it would probably be within five points,” he said.

Nevertheless, nobody wept at Liberty’s misfortune, least of all the Patriots’ runners themselves. The top four teams advanced to the Sea-King District Championships, along with the top 20 runners. Liberty enters the district meet Oct. 27 at Lake Sammamish as defending champions.

Liberty’s Sara Bliesner finished fifth in the 3.1-mile race in 19 minutes, 52.42 seconds.

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