Liberty girls run to trophy finish

June 4, 2015

By Neil Pierson

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Liberty High School’s girls track and field team made its mark at the Class 2A state championships last week, earning the fourth-place trophy with 42 points.

By Greg Farrar Carlyn Schmidgall (right), Liberty High School junior, races neck and neck in the final turn against Alexa Shindruk, of Lynden, in the 2A 3,200-meter championship May 30 in Tacoma.

By Greg Farrar
Carlyn Schmidgall (right), Liberty High School junior, races neck and neck in the final turn against Alexa Shindruk, of Lynden, in the 2A 3,200-meter championship May 30 in Tacoma.

The Patriots qualified in eight events for the May 28-30 meet at Mount Tahoma High School, and won a total of six individual medals and three relay medals to finish behind champion Shorewood (57 points), Sehome (55) and Pullman (44).

Senior Kelley Johnson was the Patriots’ leading point scorer. She earned podium finishes in the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, and also contributed to a third-place effort in the 4×100 relay (49.42 seconds) and a fourth-place finish in the 4×400 relay (4 minutes, 8.76 seconds).

Johnson, who is continuing her athletic career next year when she joins the women’s soccer program at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, put an exclamation point on her track career. She captured third in the 300 hurdles (45.98) and seventh in the 100 hurdles (16.08).

Going out on a high note was something Johnson thought about as she entered the state meet.

“It was a really big deal for me — I’m playing soccer next year, but I don’t get to run track, and I love track,” Johnson said after the May 29 preliminary heats of the 300 hurdles, in which she finished sixth overall in 47.15.

“I’ve complained about it a lot, but I absolutely love it.”

Johnson also played key roles on two of the Patriots’ three medal-winning relays. The 4×400 performance, she said, was particularly impressive considering she didn’t began running with Sophie Wartena, Marissa Mills and Kaiah McLaren until just prior to the District 2 meet. A different foursome helped the Patriots make it through the KingCo Conference meet.

“My senior year, it’s awesome that we can do this kind of stuff,” Johnson said. “All the relays, all the girls, we just meshed so well together, and I’m so happy it worked out.”

Liberty’s 4×200 team of Shanell Thompson, Wartena, Danielle Demps and Cherelle Demps finished in third place (1:43.73).

Wartena, a sophomore, joined Johnson on the podium for the 300 hurdles, finishing sixth (47.24).

Cherelle Demps, a senior, grabbed a third-place finish in the 100 meters (12.53). She won three individual state medals and five relay medals during her Liberty career.

The Patriots also scored points in the long distances as junior Carlyn Schmidgall took fourth in the 3,200 meters (11:15.83) and sixth in the 1,600 (5:12.95).

The Liberty boys team had only four qualifiers to the state meet, although the Patriots won three medals, two of them from senior Trevor Sytsma.

Sytsma took fifth in the 1,600 (4:22.89) and seventh in the 3,200 (9:32.51), while junior Nate Solly was seventh in the 300 hurdles (40.73).


The Hazen track and field team ended the weekend with two medalists.

Senior Jesus Vargas finished eighth (1:55.40) in the 3A boys 800-meter race, while Parker Trewet earned eighth place in the 3A boys shot-put.

The Highlanders also sent Kate Lilly, Sarah Hart, Plamedie Masiala, Sablena Milinganyo, Amy Warmenhoven, Alexis Rogers, Alicia Nguyen, Michelle Lilly, Alex Fortescue, Aaron Rothlisberger, Dario Cirlincione, Saivon Johnson and Rhyan Denile to state, but none of them reached the podium.

Reporter Christina Corrales-Toy contributed to this story.

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