Peterson: âI would be lying if I said we weren't going to miss (the seniors)â
By Chuck Licata
The Liberty Hill High School track and field program is in good hands moving forward.
That, according to LHHS head track coach Jimmy Duncan and girlsâ coach Gretchen Peterson.
Certainly, the recent run of success has been an inspiration and a show of strength for a Liberty Hill High School athletic progam thatâs established itself as a major force in all sports and athletics.
As the 2012 seniors get ready to graduate, they leave a tremendous mark on the program â both in the past and moving forward.
Some 84 student-athletes have qualified for the regional meets the past four years â and 20 of those have gone on to participate in the state meet. And, 15 of those state meet participants have come the past two years.
Granted, it hasnât been just members of the Class of 2012 who went to state â although two weeks ago, seniors Susie Kemper, Jessica Green, Cameron Cardwell and Andrew Waller-de la Rosa were four of the five LHHS athletes at the 3A state meet. They were joined by junior Jadon Durity-Boatright.
âThey (seniors) are kids with exceptional talent,â Peterson declared. âBut more importantly they are exceptional people. I am so proud of them in numerous ways and I would be lying if I said we weren't going to miss them.
âThey are leaving big shoes to fill and have set the bar extremely high for the underclassmen.â
âThe seniors have been phenomenal this year,â Duncan remarked. âThey have been leaders, both on the track and off. Their dedication set them apart from many other seasons of which I have been a part.
âAs a coach, I hope that the underclassmen took note and will begin to fall into the seniors footsteps.Â Obviously their success has helped to spread the name âLiberty Hillâ into even more circles.â
Two weeks ago, Kemper grabbed a silver medal in the mile run while Durity-Boatright scored a bronze in the triple jump. That certainly made for a great follow-up from last yearâs âFriday the 13thâ highmark, where Kemper grabbed a gold (in the mile) and silver (in the 800-meter run); Green took a gold (in the 100-meter hurdles) and bronze (in the high jump); and, Justin Green earned a gold medal in the high jump.
Thatâs seven total state medals â three gold, two silver and two bronze â for the LHHS program in just two years. Realize: there are some 3A schools that didnât have seven state qualifiers at the state meet the past two years.
âWe were pleased with the results this year,â Duncan said. âOf course we would have loved for them all to come home with gold medals but the fact everyone gave it their all and fought hard in extremely tough competition makes us proud.â
âWhenever you have five kids at the state meet â some in two events â that's something to be happy about no matter the medal count,â Peterson added. âIf it was up to me, I would have loved for each them to make it on the medal stand. They are such great kids. The results on Saturday are not the only representation of what this track team has achieved this year. The results on Saturday don't take anything away from what these seniors have accomplished over the past four years.â
âWe hope the underclassmen were watching the seniors,â Duncan reiterated. âThere are some great possibilities for our track team in the future. Yes, we expect Jadon to return and better his standings. We also have high hopes for Mitchell Germann and John (J.T.) Spurgeon, both regional qualifiers this year.Â We are still producing some good 800-meter runners (Zack Stiles and Joe Lingren) who went first and second in the junior varsity district meet.
âWe also have some younger sprinters and quarter milers who could make a big splash in district next year as well.Â We hope that these guys help to broaden our profile into Region 1 next year as we head back to Lubbock.â