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The first team trip to Fort Dodge is the goal for the Bolts

2019 Liberty High boys cross country preview
Liberty High’s 2018 cross country team poses for a photo before the start of the Liberty vs. Mid-Prairie varsity football game on Sept. 14, 2018. The squad delivered the game ball from the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital as part of the school’s first “Make a Difference Night” for pediatric cancer. The team will again deliver the game ball during an as yet undetermined home football game. (file photo by Chris Umscheid)

NORTH LIBERTY– Liberty High’s boys cross country team has experienced a growth spurt this year with 10 new faces out on the course, bringing the roster up to 38.
The squad, in its third year, returns nine letter winners including 2017 state qualifier, and 2018 Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) Second Team All-Conference pick Peter Woodward, a senior, and 2019 state track competitor Jack Kinzer (4x800-meter relay), a junior. Also back are senior Henry Krain, juniors Caleb Schillinger and Spencer Knight, and sophomores Ethan Keeney, Christian Montover, Jordan Robinson and Jack Abel. Kinzer, Schillinger and Knight are captains for the team.
“We lost only one senior to graduation in Dylan Schmidt, who left big shoes to fill as a team captain,” Coach Josh Hildebrand said. “But the crew has been putting in some quality workouts through the winter/spring/summer, and are ready to take another big step this year as we fight to make that first team trip to Fort Dodge.”
New to the squad is Bo Gryp, a multi-sport junior who qualified in multiple events at the 2019 Drake Relays and state coed track meet. “He has had a great summer of training and looks to be an immediate scorer for the team,” Hildebrand said. The “Bolts,” although getting seasoned, are still by and large a young squad, he said. “Of our 38 teammates we only have four seniors, so we are still a young team. But seven of our nine returning letter winners have won letters every year they have been on the team, and will be our leaders this season.”
The MVC is historically a strong conference regardless of the sport, and cross country is no exception. “The MVC teams may lose some great individuals, but the great teams always seem to reload,” Hildebrand said “Our Bolts have been working really hard since last October to become one of those top teams in the MVC, and contenders for one of those 15 spots on the starting line in Fort Dodge on November 2.”
Liberty’s runners will be in action at meets hosted by Iowa City West, Iowa City Regina Catholic High School, Solon, and Hildebrand’s old program: City High. Hildebrand spent 13 years as an assistant coach with the Little Hawks before starting the Lightning’s program three years ago.
Liberty will also host the MVC Super Meet on Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Kickers Soccer Complex in Iowa City, and will compete in the University of Minnesota’s Roy Griak Invitational in late September.
The season opens on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the University of Iowa’s Ashton Cross Country Course with Bettendorf, Columbus Junction, North Scott and Williamsburg at 4:30 p.m. In addition, the Bolts will deliver a game ball from the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to Liberty High during a home football game.

Liberty High 2019 Varsity Boys Cross Country Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 29 AT U of I Ashton Cross Country Course 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 5 AT Iowa City Regina’s meet 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 14 AT Luther College Invitational, Decorah 9 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 17 N. Scott Invite, Scott Co. Park, Eldridge 4:15 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 23 Solon Invite. Solon Nature & Rec. Area 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 28 Univ. of Minnesota Roy Griak Invite. TBD
Thursday, Oct. 3 Bud Williams Invie. U of I Ashton Course 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 10 MVC Super Meet, Kickers Soccer Complex 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 17 Divisional Meet, Dubuque Sr. High School 4:30 p.m.