Winning a state championship is no easy feat, and the Liberty Lady Panthers have done that twice in the last four years. In 2018, Liberty came out of nowhere to grab the school’s first state title. The second state title came on June 5, with the Lady Panthers taking a convincing 10-3 win over Corpus Christi Calallen. Let’s talk about 2018 first real quick. With only one senior on the roster, Liberty came out of nowhere to knock off Vernon 3-1 to win their first-ever state title. “In 2018, the teams we played did not game plan for us,” said Liberty Head Coach Karen Slack. “No one took us serious, and our girls peeked at the right time. We were so young that the girls probably didn’t even realize all the pressure in a state title run, and that worked in our advantage.”
That was different in 2021, as it was expected by many people going into the season.
“Everyone was gunning for us this year,” added Slack. “We played the whole season with a target on our back, and that did not faze these ladies a bit. They expected to win it this year.”
Mikaelah Burkland, Kaci West, and Jaylen Prichard were all freshmen in 2018 and played essential parts in that first state title run. As a senior’s this year and captains, they made it two state title’s on their resumes before leaving Liberty High School. “Those three made it so easy for me this year,” said Slack. “They were like coaches out there and took charge. Whenever there was a problem with one of the underclassmen, you could count on those three to address the problem.”
Burkland is heading to SFA while West is heading to Baylor, and Prichard will play at Eastern Illinois. “If not for the cancelation of the season in 2020 due to the pandemic, we might have three state titles in the trophy case here.”
It’s been fun, and with what we have coming back in 2022, it should be another good run for us. Slack wanted to thank the community for their overwhelming support and add a huge thanks to Bruce George of the Liberty Athletic Booster Club.
“Mr. George has been huge for us and always comes through with whatever we need,” Slack concluded.