After having a bye on Feb. 10, the Liberty Ranch Hawks finally ran their first official cross-country race of the school year when it hosted Bradshaw Christian.

Hawk coach Brian Robinson noted that the team is not keeping team scores at meets this season. However, both programs recorded individual results and the Hawks came out on top in each category.

Despite smaller numbers than usual for the Hawks, they still outnumbered the Pride, who Robinson estimated had “eight or nine” runners.

“The numbers are down and that’s to be expected with COVID cause everything’s so uncertain. At least we’re getting to compete,” Robinson said afterward.

As for being able to compete for the first time in a year, the Hawks were grateful to take that first step.

“They were all pretty happy. The freshmen were scared. They were really nervous but they got through it. It’s a small step forward,” Robinson said.

Liberty Ranch’s Cyrus Walker won the varsity boys’ race with his time of 18:29, Cole Parker finished second in 20:13 and Raghav Vasudevan of the Hawks tied with Parker.

For the varsity girls, Maryn Rogers won with her time of 20:16, Halle Ory placed second at 22:50 and Xianna Morales placed third with her time of 23:23.

Shawn Nichols of the Hawks won the freshman/sophomore two-mile run with his time of 14:35.

“I’m pretty happy with our kids, it’s kind of hard to get consistency this year,” Robinson said.

The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to alter the season in several major ways other than delaying its start.

Not knowing if they’d be able to compete earlier this year, some athletes took on other projects or started jobs, Robinson said.

The California Interscholastic Federation decided earlier this year that teams competing in the first sports season would stick with a league schedule but would have their postseason eliminated in order to have as many teams compete in regular season meets as possible.

The Sierra Valley Conference also will not hold its league championship meet, which led coaches to vote to buy All-League patches and decide on winners in a different format.

“Since everyone has to come run at Liberty, we’ll take the top 10 times and use that as a basis for all-league,” Robinson said.

Despite some bumps and hurdles during training on the boys’ side due to injuries, the Hawks have a chance to make an impact in their whirlwind of a season.

“The girls dominated this year, especially Maryn. Our boys – Cole Parker has had a job so he hasn’t had as much training time and my number four guy, Shawn, he’s had an ankle injury. Looking at the times, though, I’m pretty optimistic.”