In a historic moment for Lamar Athletics, the Lamar Thunder Cross Country teams made their debut at the Liberty Bell Invitational, hosted at the Heritage High School Cross Country course in Littleton, Colorado on Saturday, September 8, 2023. In an impressive display of skill and determination, the Thunder not only participated but made a significant impact, securing the 6th position out of 19 other Division 3 schools.
Head Coach Savahanna Davis shared her thoughts on this unique event, saying, "The Liberty Bell meet holds a special place for us because it breaks the mold of our usual competition. Often, we find ourselves racing against the same familiar teams in our local events. This race was particularly exciting as it rivaled the scale of a state championship, if not larger, with teams we rarely get the chance to face."
With a staggering lineup of over 18 races and approximately 2,000 runners across various divisions, the Liberty Bell Invitational proved to be intensely competitive.
Davis continued, "We've been eager to participate in this meet for years, and this was a thrilling moment for us. We knew this course was fast, and our hope was that our athletes would achieve personal records. They did not disappoint."
Cole Krug, who had entered the meet undefeated for the season, delivered a remarkable performance by shaving off 30 seconds from his personal best time. Joel Davis not only broke the 17-minute barrier but demolished it with an impressive time of 16:25. Ryan Harbour achieved a significant personal goal by finishing in under 18:30.
On the girls' side, Coach Davis expressed her amazement, stating, "Chloe Lubbers from our girls' team was particularly outstanding, as she slashed four minutes off her personal record. Usually, we see runners making modest improvements, but a four-minute drop is truly exceptional. Nearly all our runners, both on the girls' and boys' teams, set personal records at the Liberty Bell meet. It's going to be a tough performance to surpass."
Looking ahead in the coming weeks, the Thunder have a brief hiatus from competition, allowing them a valuable training week. Coach Davis emphasized the significance of this break, stating, "This week off allows our athletes to focus on solid training without the pressure of an upcoming race. It's a crucial element of our success strategy."
While the team is in contention to qualify collectively for the state championship, Coach Davis acknowledged the fierce competition, saying, "Many teams are vying for those coveted spots, so we will continue to put in the work and prepare diligently for the all-important regional race."
The Lamar Thunder Cross Country teams displayed exceptional determination and performance at the Liberty Bell Invitational. The coaching staff and fans couldn't be prouder of the athletes' dedication and resilience, both on and off the course.