Liberty boys track and field team places second at state
June 3, 2011
By Tim Pfarr
The Liberty High School boys team placed second overall out of the 3A schools at the state championship track and field meet at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School May 27 and 28, thanks to phenomenal performances from Josh Gordon and the school’s boys 4×400 meter relay team.
Gordon, a junior, took first in the 3A long jump with a 22-10 1/2 jump and second in the high jump, clearing 6-6.
The latter set a new personal best and a school record.
“The last few weeks, I’d been really down, only clearing 6, 6-2, so to come out on a nice day and get that was really great,” Gordon said about the high jump. “It just felt really good. I just came off just flying through the air. I’m over the bar and I don’t feel it yet. It was just really a great feeling.”
The 4×400 team — Gordon, Devin Bennett, Joseph Bergmann and Hamilton Noel — took first place with a time of 3 minutes, 22.08 seconds.
Also, Liberty’s Hiron Redmon, a sophomore, took third in the 800-meter dash with a time of 1:56.1; Bennett took fourth in the 400 with a time of 51.01; and Noel took sixth in the pole vault with a jump of 13-6.
Bennett ran in lane seven for the 400, which he said helped eliminate distractions at the start of the race, given that he started in front of most of his competitors.
“You don’t have somebody to pace you,” he said. “The competition is all on your inside. It makes you work harder.”
For the Liberty girls, senior Madison Birdsall took seventh in the 400 with a time of 58.78; sophomore Jessica Pickering took 12th place in the pole vault, jumping 8-6; and freshman Amy Broska took 15th in the 3,200 with a time of 11:51.73.
Softball team falls in first round
Liberty’s softball team advanced to the 3A SeaKing District Tournament, falling to Bishop Blanchet High School, 5-2, in the first round. The Patriots entered the game as a No. 4 seed from 3A KingCo; Bishop Blanchet entered as the No. 4 seed from Metro.
In the final game, both teams’ offenses were cold through the top of the fourth inning, when the Braves managed to score a run on a single to left center field. The Patriots struck back in the top of the fifth, when junior centerfielder Ana Faoro drew a two-out walk and freshman second baseman Liza VanCamp made it to first base on a dropped fly ball to third base.
With runners on first and second, junior shortstop Denise Blohowiak came to the plate. After a wild pitch allowed both runners to advance, Blohowiak hit a ground ball to third. However, the Braves’ third baseman stepped on the bag, mistakenly thinking there was a force-out on the bag that would end the inning. Faoro scored on the play to tie the game, and VanCamp made it to third without being tagged.
A foul-out ended the top of the fifth, and Bishop Blanchet just as quickly regained control of the game in the bottom half of the inning. The Braves opened with a single, and after a strikeout and a fielder’s choice, they racked up five straight hits, driving in four runs.
Liberty added another run in the sixth inning, but it was too little too late.
“My team has grown so much from the beginning to the end,” softball head coach Jessica Johnson said. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked them, from mental toughness to physical ability.”
The loss brought the Patriots’ final record for the year to 8-10. However, most of the team will be back next year, as the team has only three graduating seniors.
The Liberty baseball team’s season was cut short in the first round of the KingCo 3A tournament after a 10-1 loss to Mercer Island High School on May 10.
Liberty entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed on the heels of a five-game winning streak that included a 3-0 victory at home against No. 4 seed Mercer Island.
“We ran into a tough team tonight,” Liberty baseball coach Steve Darnell said after the game.
The Patriots baseball team lost 13 seniors after the 2010 season, and they entered this season with only five returning varsity players. The season began as an uphill battle, and Liberty entered the final five games with a 4-10 overall record.
“A few weeks ago, we couldn’t even talk about playing in this game,” Darnell said after the game. “It was really tough getting everybody to believe and play through that 21st out, but once we started doing that — scratching and clawing at all 21 — we really got it going.”
The boys soccer team did not advance to the playoffs, finishing the season 4-9-2.