The Liberty Bell DQ - An update. And hopefully the end of the story.

Alan Versaw's first report of the DQ


A common theme: Learn, then let's move on.


By Don Rich, special to Colorado Track XC


DQs happen all the time. In track, they can be commonplace. In cross country, not so much.

But it is a particular cross country DQ that has caused a bit of a stir at what many in Colorado call THE big meet in the Rocky Mountain Region – The Liberty Bell Invitational in Littleton.

At many meets this would be a non-story. But this particular DQ involved a team that traveled more than eight hours from New Mexico to “sweep” both the girls and the boys races in the large school Division I groupings.

But before getting into some of the detail, the bottom line about this DQ is that the coach of the boy’s team involved – Adam Kedge - did not fight the ruling.

The meet director – Lori Lee - who has been welcoming this particular team to the meet for a dozen years as an assistant and now as head coach – feels heartbroken for the team.

She also feels she and her Games Committee had absolutely no choice in the decision.

Despite the DQ, Lee pointed out that there was a lot to celebrate in the fact that the meet even happened at all.

Flooding in the region of host Heritage HS and to their north, limited participation to about 60% of the meet’s capacity of 92 teams – 23 in each of four varsity divisions.

Lee cited the involvement of the parents in her school who always go above and beyond to volunteer in all aspects of the meet to make it run smoothly.

And Lee points to a former coach at the school who runs the finish line; even eight years after turning over coaching and meet director duties.

And for further positive news, she pointed to her own team and some surprise volunteers from Cheyanne Mountain HS who helped to take down the chutes… even taking the time to shake hands of all the meet officials and thank them for putting on the meet.

“For all that goes wrong, there are more things that go right,” Lee said. “And that helps to make it all worthwhile.”

And the relationship between Albuquerque Academy and the Liberty Bell Invitational is a positive one as well - one of loyalty that goes both ways.

Head Coach Adam Kedge has been bringing his team the 450 miles to the meet for 12 years. In fact, he uses the meet as an incentive for his team to train over the summer so they can be on the varsity, or included in the few additional JV spots as back up for the meet.

He uses a scrimmage and earlier meets to sort out who gets to go on the major road trip of the year, “complete with hotel and good food”.

Winning it more than half of the years they have participated adds to the fun as well.

The short story of the DQ and its aftermath is quite simple.

Albuquerque captured 1st and 3rd, and placed their top five in the first 12 runners. In the chute – the top ten runners receive individual medals on the spot.

According to Lee, the chute director, as well as Benji Durden; one of the most respected timers in the state; both observed what she refers to as rude and disrespectful behavior by the team’s runners – grabbing at the chute and basically refusing to keep moving – backing up other finishers. Kedge says that his first runner did yell in celebration. That, according to Lee, “was not something we would disqualify an individual for.”

But according to Heritage boys’ coach Sheri Rossing, Durden and several members of the games committee said that the Albuquerque team as a whole did not keep moving and were disruptive as they were being asked to move through the chute.

Lee heard about the behavior almost immediately, and told Coach Kedge that they were considering a DQ on his first two runners. She had yet to hear from others about the rest of the team.

Kedge told Lee that she had his “full support,” and that whatever they decided, he would not object.

From his perspective, Kedge says he saw no taunting or disrespect from his runners.

However, according to Lee, Kedge did have his top two apologize to the timer.

The glitches that occurred between the finish of the race and the over 90 minutes that passed before the team DQ was shared with Kedge, were unintentional, says Lee. One was that unofficial results were posted showing Albuquerque as team champions.

Between lightning in the area, administrators trying to get people to safety; the awards; and the various injuries that happen during cross country races, Lee says the DQ – while already decided – was not the top priority. “That’s my bad,” she says, for not sharing the information earlier.

But when she did, Coach Kedge once again said he would not challenge the decision.

At the awards, Coach Rossing says she called the team winners to the podium – excluding the Albuquerque boys team – but accidently included the Albuquerque individual champion. Twice.

“To his credit,” says Lee, “Coach Kedge pulled his runner from the awards ceremony.”

The Albuquerque girls did win the team title.

The boys team remained to support the girls.

And both Coach Kedge and Coach Lee came away from the day with the similar views.

Kedge told his charges – being an official is not easy; making decisions is tough; learn from your mistakes; and move on.

As for Lee, she remains an avid supporter of Kedge and his teams. “He is a class coach, and they have always been respectful at our race. Kids make, and learn from their mistakes. Let’s move on.”


Original story as written by Alan Versaw:

Kyle Carrozza celebrates crossing the finish line in first in the Division 1 boys race at Liberty Bell. Photo by Jeff McCoy.

After all the rains, threats of flooding, and the long list of schools that could find no passable route to the meet,  we all would have hoped the Liberty Bell Invitational would have settled into a meet free pf controversy. So many people we so relieved to see this meet get started that we all looked forward to a great afternoon of the best in high school cross country that everyone could walk away from with a good feeling.

But, it didn't end up that way.

The Albuquerque Academy boys, who steamrolled the competition in the actual race, were disqualified. I have heard multiple explanations of their disqualification. The most credible explanation I have heard to this point is that the team was disqualified for excessive celebration, but I cannot personally vouch for that being the official explanation. At this point, I merely put it out as a possible explanation.

It is the case that the team was disqualified and not an individual. No Albuquerque Academy boys show in the official meet results.

As can be seen from the initial results posted on-site at the meet (contributed photo), Albuquerque Academy--coming back hard after a couple of years of performing below the school's long-term pattern--easily won the meet without the disqualification. The team disqualification, however, changed everything and sent the hardware home with Arapahoe High School.

At this point, there is much of this story that is clearly beyond my understanding. This story will be added to as appropriate, but a significant meet looms on my own team's schedule tomorrow and will delay the posting of any additions to this story.

Official Meet Results & Photos