Pasco, WA - As a junior, Liberty Bell cross country star Novie McCabe continues to prove why she is the most successful athlete ever at the 1B/2B level in the state of Washington.
Yesterday at the Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco, McCabe added another 1B/2B state title to her outstanding career making it a total of three as she ran 18:27.4 for the winning time.
For the first mile, McCabe ran against Life Christian's Gabby Martin, an unfamiliar thing for the Liberty Bell runner as she has been running most of her races solo this year, except in big invites.
The competitive spirit of Martin made it more enjoyable for McCabe. She said she was able to be pulled along with her opponent.
"It was fun to have someone to run with for the first mile," said Martin with a big smile.
"I really love the new course. It is super flowy and just runs really well so it was fun to have something new to distract me while I was running."
For a tough, hilly course, McCabe felt her overall performance in the state race was at her best and couldn't be more happy about it.
Not very many runners can say they have won an individual state title, let alone three of them. But, I don't think a runner who has won three individual state titles has also won three state titles with their team in the same seasons.
The Mountain Lions girls cross country team won their third consecutive 1B/2B state title with the help of McCabe's win, and two other podium finishes in the top 10 from Icel Sukovaty (6th, 20:09.8) and Jori Grialou (9th, 20:31).
Plagued with injuries earlier on this season, the team had enough depth to fill the roles of those who were not able to run and manage to win another state title.
"To know we have the depth we have and be able to pull out another great win is awesome." Coach Sarah Brooks said
Brooks was pleased with the performance the girls put forth, especially the state champion McCabe.
"Novie is one of the greatest athletes a coach could ever have on their team," said Brooks. "She is so humble and interested in the whole team, so to inspire her every race, we tell her the entire team is having a good day. That is pretty terrific to have such an outstanding individual who cares so much about the team aspect."
Two seniors, Ava Mott and Icel Sukovaty, have been running varsity since their freshman year. Their freshman year was the first time in 11 years that the Liberty Bell girls had a full varsity team, and now as seniors, there is a total of 21 runners in the program.
"It has been amazing to have the team we have this season," said Mott, who finished 42nd in 23:12.6. "Everyone is so supportive and that is fun to be around. Even if we weren't winning, it is just great to have a team."
Sukovaty would add on the effort everyone puts into the sport has been a major impact to the programs recent success.
Ella Kuzyk (21:13.6), Mahali Kuzyk (22:29.2), and Keeley Brooks (23:34.3) were among others on the state championship team.
All season long, the Liberty Bell girls have been ranked No. one in the associate press poll and proved once again why they are the best team at the 1B/2B level for girls cross country.