By Collin Brooks
The Liberty Bell girls track team took home a state title a couple weeks ago, outscoring the second place Ridgeway team 60.50-28 to take the victory.
The dominance at the state meet was something similar to the path they took through the Regional and Sectional meets, but that didn’t mean that Liberty Bell girls track coach Nancy McDonald knew a state title was a sure thing.
“What you have done in the past means nothing, so you just don’t know how they’re going to respond, but they went in and they were tenacious,” McDonald said. “They scraped and we had a lot of personal records on Saturday. But that is what you want is them to peak at state.
“We knew we had the potential, but they just came through and fulfilled the desire.”
That goes hand-in-hand with the team’s motto for the season, “Hard-work beats talent, when talent isn’t working hard enough.”
McDonald was named girls state coach of the year, but she insisted it was in name only, because she and boys Coach Marvin Christman split duties in a “divide and conquer” method and worked with all of the kids.
The win wasn’t only exciting for the numerous girls that came away with state honors, there were personal victories sprinkled in.
“It’s not just those that came home with a lot of hardware,” she said. “There were a lot of our kids that went down there and did their best and that is what you want to see. For them to just get out there and do their best, you’re proud of everyone. Like Coach Christman asked them to do, they left it on the field.”
The Liberty Bell girls 4×400 team of Mary Reed, Kyley Carlsen, Gracie Wysong and Taryn Seeley took home the state title, setting the meet record with the win and showing their coach what a bit of hard work and focus can do.
“That just showed the type of grit that they had all season, they wanted to get the record and they did it,” McDonald said.
Wysong also won the 800-meter and her teammate Carlsen took home third place.
Wysong finished in fourth place for the Lady Patriots in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:27.72. Reagan Trinny Duncan finished just behind her in 10th place in the same event.
Reed brought home second place in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:02.12. Taryn Seeley finished just behind her in fifth place, while Lindsey Taylor finished in 8th. Taylor also brought home a 15th place finish in the 800 meter run.
Taylor Owens took home sixth place in the 200-meter, while she also helped the 4×100 relay team with Reed, Livingston and Alfreda Saysay finish in fourth place.
Jackie Hirst grabbed a seventh place finish in the 100-meter race, while also earning eighth place in the high jump.
Hannah Ballard also earned all state honors with her fourth place finish in the discus, she also finished in 12th place in the shot put.
On the boys side, the best performance came from the 4×400 relay team of Param Shah, Liam Medina, David Evans and Jonah Harris, who finished in seventh place.
The 4×200 team of Carter DiSantis, Omarion Jones, Jeremiah Hise and Evan Huff finished in ninth place.
Param was also able to finish in eighth place in the 400 meter race, while Evans finished in 9th place in the 1600-meter run, while bringing home 14th place in the 800 meter run.
The 4×100 team of Jones, Hise, Harris and Colton Riggs finished in 12th place, while Darell Lane brought home a 13th place finish in the 100-meter hurdles.
McDonald said the success of the athletes was in large part because of the work they put in, but it was also the support from their families and school.
Other local competitors that had success were Gray’s Conner Wingfield who finished in fifth place in the boys 800 meter and took home the title in the 1600-meter run. Jonesborough’s Tony Davis finished in 10th place in the boys discus and in 11th place in the shot put. Lamar’s Tell Johnson brought home an eighth place finish in the high jump, while Sulphur Spring’s Seth Banchetto finished in second place in the long jump and Tyler Saults finished in 13th place. Banchetto also picked up a third place in the 110 meter hurdles.
On the girls side, Caitlyn Heglar finished in sixth place in the high jump. Jonesborough’s Mattie McKee finished in eighth place in the long jump, while teammate Kayla Winfield finished in 10th place. Sulphur Springs Caileigh Brooks finished in 11th place, while Lamar’s Lily Crawford finished in 13th. In the 100 meter hurdles, Jonesborugh’s Addie Stadle took home a fourth place finish. Teammate Ashlynn Roy finished in fifth place in the 1600-meter, while Lamar’s Halle Scott finished in 8th place and Hope Krell finished in 10th from Ridgeview. Ridgeview’s Patricia Chella finished in 6th place in the 400 meter. Lamar’s Breanna Dunn finished in seventh place in the 800, while Ashlynn Roy finished in 10th place.