Liberty North High School runner Sammy Laurenzo concluded her junior cross-country season last fall with a second consecutive top-seven finish in the Missouri Class 3 girls' state championship meet.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
It wasn't good enough, she said. Now, in her senior season, she expected to win a state title.
Her final chance is off to a quick start.
Laurenzo finished second to Columbia Rock Bridge runner Marilise Stamps last Saturday at the Liberty Invitational cross country meet. Laurenzo was the top finisher, however, among all Missouri Class 3 runners.
Rock Bridge won the eight-team meet, followed by Liberty North in second, Liberty third, Staley fourth and Notre Dame de Sion fifth.
Madison Nasteff paced Liberty High's finish by placing third. Her teammate, Jennifer Myers, was eighth.
Smithville senior Kate Berger placed fifth. She took 22nd in the state competition last season.
Notre Dame de Sion was led by Julie Steilen in sixth.
Liberty North runner Yesenia Gomez rounded out the top10.
Staley earned its best finish from Hannah Hall, who was in 11th.
Volleyball: Liberty among state's best
A year after winning its Class 4 district, the Liberty volleyball team has earned the respect of the state's coaches.
The Blue Jays are ranked fifth in the Missouri high school volleyball coaches poll. Liberty lost only one starter from last season's team. Returners include outside hitter Madison Duello and middle blocker Mattie-Ann Swenson. Park Hill also received votes in the poll.
St. Pius X received votes in the Class 3 poll. The Warriors reached the state tournament last season and finished third.
West Platte is ranked fifth in the Class 1 poll.
Football: Winnetonka bounces back
OK, so it's probably a bit early in the season to start labeling football games as must-wins, but don't underestimate the important of Winnetonka's 41-27 victory over Raytown South. The Griffins desperately needed something positive a week after being blown out by Liberty 35-0, and Marquise Doherty gave it to them.
A two-way player, Doherty scored on two touchdown runs and caught another score. That was only half his night. On defense, he picked off two passes and returned both for touchdowns.
Suddenly, just a week after a forgettable loss, Winnetonka won its Suburban Blue Conference opener.
No harm, no foul? Perhaps.
Winnetonka will try to build a winning streak Friday while visiting another conference opponent, Grandview, which is off to a surprising 2-0 start.
Football: Eagles’ defense on lockdown
In 12 second-week games pitting suburban conference teams against one another, all but one included a minimum of 43 points. In fact, 10 teams within the four conferences scored at least 40 points — Blue Springs, Fort Osage, Lee's Summit, Kearney, Liberty North, North Kansas City, Lee's Summit West, Liberty, Winnetonka and Grandview.
In that case, consider the Liberty North Eagles an exception.
The Liberty North defense posted a shutout for the second consecutive week in a 49-0 win over Truman. Sure, it would be easy to point to the Eagles' first two opponents — they defeated Ruskin to open the season on Aug. 30 — as factors in Liberty North's defensive success.
But that would also be ignoring a much-improved unit that returned seven starters this season, led by linebacker Nick Hess.
So how good is the Eagles defense? That answer should come this Friday when they travel to Fort Osage, a fellow 2-0 team that made the Missouri Class 5 championship game last season. Fort Osage running back Ezra Vaoifi in particular should test Liberty North. He has rushed for more than 500 yards in two convincing wins against Park Hill South and Blue Springs South.