Freshman phenoms take center stage

January 2, 2014

By Greg Farrar Freshmen varsity athletes (from left), swimmer Sydney Hartford, cross country runners and twin sisters Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi and football player Noah Pritchett, stand by a poster in the Liberty High School commons proclaiming the motto of Patriot athletes and their student body fans, ‘We Are One.’

By Greg Farrar
Freshmen varsity athletes (from left), swimmer Sydney Hartford, cross country runners and twin sisters Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi and football player Noah Pritchett, stand by a poster in the Liberty High School commons proclaiming the motto of Patriot athletes and their student body fans, ‘We Are One.’

Less than a year ago, Brigette and Kelsey Takeuchi, Sydney Hartford and Noah Pritchett roamed the halls at Maywood Middle School.

Fast forward to their first year at Liberty High School. Three of them have competed among the top athletes in the state, while the fourth has found a place on a varsity squad that rarely makes room for freshmen.

Liberty sports teams found a lot of success this fall, due in no small part to these budding stars.

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Brigette Takeuchi helps pace Liberty to top-10 finish at state

December 4, 2013

It says something about the strength of a program when its athletes and coaches are disappointed, even after a weekend in which the team posted its best performance ever at the state competition.

That’s what it means to be a Liberty High School cross-country participant, where the expectations are high, but certainly attainable, Patriots coach Mike Smith said.

By Mike Smith Brigette Takeuchi, Liberty High School freshman, runs alone on the way to her fourth place finish in her first state championship Nov. 9.

By Mike Smith
Brigette Takeuchi, Liberty High School freshman, runs alone on the way to her fourth place finish in her first state championship Nov. 9.

The Liberty girls cross-country team was determined to finish in the top four at the 2013 state competition in Pasco on Nov. 9. The Patriots had a good chance, too, given they were ranked third in the state coming into the meet.

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Local athletes take to the podium at state track championships

June 6, 2013

By Greg Farrar Liberty High School teammates (from left) Ashby Brown, Hiron Redman, Romney Noel and Alex Olobia link arms and display their 4×400-meter relay medals after winning second place with a time of 3 minutes, 20.42 seconds during the 3A state track and field championships May 25 in Tacoma.

By Greg Farrar
Liberty High School teammates (from left) Ashby Brown, Hiron Redman, Romney Noel and Alex Olobia link arms and display their 4×400-meter relay medals after winning second place with a time of 3 minutes, 20.42 seconds during the 3A state track and field championships May 25 in Tacoma.

Immediately after Liberty track stars Alex Olobia and Hiron Redman competed in the last race of their high school careers, the seniors embraced as they shook off the disappointment of a second place finish in the 4×400-meter relay at the state track and field championship.

“Bellevue had just that much more, just a little bit more,” Redman said. “He just got me by a 30th of a second. That’s it.”

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Campbell twins bring double positives

June 6, 2013

Teachers can tell stories about twins who equaled double trouble, but the Campbell twins, Sean and Matt, seniors at Liberty High School, stand out for their double positive contributions: double the effort in two sports and double the boost of a serious academic climate.

The twins find themselves at home on the basketball court, at track and field events, and in the classroom.

By Greg Farrar Matt Campbell (left) and 2-minute-older twin brother Sean, Liberty High School seniors, pose with their javelins.

By Greg Farrar
Matt Campbell (left) and 2-minute-older twin brother Sean, Liberty High School seniors, pose with their javelins.

The twins come from an athletic family. Their father William and their mother Arleen are both swimmers; their sister Rebecca plays basketball as a high school junior, as does the younger sister Alissa as a freshman.

The twins started with basketball by playing pig and horse with their father as young boys, but got competitive about basketball in the seventh grade at Maywood Middle School.

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Former Hazen shot putter qualifies for NCAA Preliminary Round

May 31, 2012

A former Hazen High School track and field standout joined a dozen other University of Idaho men’s and women’s track and field athletes that officially advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary Round with the NCAA’s announcement of the meet’s declared athletes May 17.

Idaho sophomore Andrey Levkiv won the 3A shot put title for the Highlanders his senior year at the school.

“We feel really good about our group,” Idaho director of track and field/cross country Wayne Phipps said. “We had two more who had qualified but were unable to compete, so for us to have 15 who qualified, and 13 who will be competing is very good for us as a program.”

By Spencer Farrin Andrey Levkiv starts an attempt in the shot put at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on May 11. Levkiv won the conference title with a throw of 56 feet, 5.75 inches.

Levkiv is a first-time NCAA qualifier this year.

“It’s an exciting and amazing accomplishment for anyone to be a repeat qualifier, and for us to have this many new people is a great sign for our program that we’re progressing and moving in the right direction,” Phipps said.

The NCAA Preliminary Round system replaced the Regional Championships in 2009. The nation is split between the East and West regions, with the top 48 athletes in each event advancing to the NCAA Preliminary Round, at which they compete in the opening rounds through the semifinals of NCAA competition, depending on the event.

The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the national finals, which will be held June 6-9 at Des Moines, Iowa.

“I like that everyone is on an equal playing field once you get there, but it does put a ton of pressure on each student-athlete to compete,” Phipps said. “There’s an incredible level of competition and there’s no room for error, whatsoever.”

Former Hazen shot put champion receives collegiate award

May 3, 2012

Former Hazen High School track and field standout Andrey Levkiv was named the Western Athletic Conference Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week for the week of April 16-22.

Levkiv, a sophomore who now attends the University of Idaho, won a 3A state shot put title for the Highlanders his senior year. He jumped into Idaho’s all-time top-10 in the shot put at the Beach Invitational in Norwalk, Calif.

Andrey Levkiv

He hit 57 feet, 7.75 inches (17.57 meters), a 2-foot, 4-inch personal best, to extend his WAC lead to nearly a 4-foot margin. The mark is currently ranked 26th in the NCAA West performance list and moves Levkiv to ninth all-time at Idaho.

He also competed in the shot put at the Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, Calif., posting a toss of 54-2 1/2. Levkiv also entered the discus at both the Bryan Clay Invitational and Beach Invitational, posting marks of 149-5 and 151-1, respectively.

The athlete of the week award is Levkiv’s second of the season.

Newcastle runner wins 50K championship

April 5, 2012

Newcastle resident Joseph Gray, 28, was the overall winner of the Merrell of Huntington Village Caumsett State Park 50 Kilometer Run on March 4 in New York.

The run, for the fifth straight year, was the USA Track and Field National Road 50 Kilometer Championship.

More than 100 athletes from across the country finished the 50K race.

A newcomer to the      50-kilometer ultramarathon distance, Gray clocked a winning time of 2 hours, 56 minutes and 43 seconds, which is 1 minute and 41 seconds shy of runner-up Michael Wardian’s course record that was set in 2008.

Wardian, of Arlington, Va., came in second during this year’s event with a time of 3:02:55.

Wardian was the runner-up at the 2011 IAU 100 Kilometer World Championships and was named USATF’s Ted Corbitt Award winner for Ultra Runner of the Year, while Gray was last year’s USATF Mountain Runner of the Year.

Wardian was the defending champion in the event for the past four years in a row.

Gray and Wardian have announced their intention to continue their rivalry at the 2013 edition of the run.

Newcastle runner wins national 50K championship

March 9, 2012

NEW — 4:25 p.m. March 9, 2012

Newcastle resident Joseph Gray, 28, was the overall winner of the Merrell of Huntington Village Caumsett 50 Kilometer Run on March 4.  The run, for the fifth straight year, was the USA Track and Field National Road 50 Kilometer Championship.

A newcomer to the 50 kilometer ultramarathon distance,  Gray clocked a winning time of 2 hours, 56 minutes and 43 seconds, which is one minute and 41 seconds shy of Michael Wardian’s course record that was set in 2008.

Wardian came in second during the event with a time of 3:02:55.

Wardian was the runner up at the 2011 IAU 100 Kilometer World Championships and was named USATF’s Ted Corbitt Award winner for Ultra Runner of the Year, while Gray was last year’s USATF Mountain Runner of the Year.

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Hazen track athletes, Liberty golfers go to state

July 1, 2011

Hazen High School track and field athletes and Liberty High School golfers advanced to their respective state tournaments this spring.

Liberty High School junior Krysta Dawson finished 20th in the 3A state golf tournament in May with a two-day score of 175. By Greg Farrar

At the state track and field championships at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma High School on May 28, Hazen senior Kyle Martin took third in the pole vault with a jump of 14 feet. In the girls 100-meter dash preliminaries, senior Starr Williams took ninth with a time of 12.82 seconds.

Williams did not advance to the finals, finishing .05 seconds behind the eighth place finisher.

Liberty golfers Krysta Dawson, Alex DuVall and Molly Culwell took to the state golf tournament at Liberty Lake Golf Course in Spokane May 24 and 25.

Dawson shot an 86 on the par-70 course, taking 18th place the first day and advancing to the second round. DuVall and Culwell shot 96 and 97 to finish 50th and 52nd, respectively. DuVall and Culwell did not advance to the second round.

In the second round, Dawson shot an 89, bringing her two-day score to 175 for a 20th-place finish.

Liberty boys track and field team places second at state

June 3, 2011

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.

Devin Bennett, Liberty High School senior, flies in the air for his 44-foot, 8 1/2-inch triple jump, to take fifth place at the 3A state track championships May 28 in Tacoma. By Greg Farrar

“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.

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