Louisville freshman Liberty Williams was in rough waters.

Matched up against two-time Atlantic Coast Conference 1,650-yard freestyle champion Paige Madden, the Mentone ace swimmer had a tough challenge at last week’s conference championships in Greensboro, N.C.

No one was going to beat Madden, not after she posted a 15-minute, 45-second clocking to notch her third ACC title for Virginia.

There was Williams, the onetime Redlands East Valley ace, racking up a second place finish in just over 16 minutes. It was worth 28 points in the team scoring, ultimately contributing to Louisville’s runner-up finish to Virginia.

Williams might be the most decorated swimmer out of REV’s lengthy stable of water wheelers.

She’s a three-time U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier. Multiple Junior Olympic medal winner. Two 500-yard CIF championships, likely denied a third due to last spring’s COVID-19 blackout. A scholarship to NCAA Division I Louisville was a nice sendoff from her prep digs.

No one, incidentally, was a match for Madden, who also snagged the women’s 500-yard freestyle title. Williams, meanwhile, didn’t make the championship finals, instead winning the consolation title in 4:44 — two seconds ahead of her best mark for REV from her 2019 CIF finals.

***

You can’t outguess health officials, but I’m getting fed up with stringing high school athletes along — particularly football players — while delays pile up on whether or not that sport will even take place.

Principals don’t know.

Athletic directors know even less.

Coaches? They’re also on the hopeful list.

CIF State commissioner Rob Nocetti explained last month that there needed to be a 12-week gap between football seasons.

Pushing the end date for football back a few more weeks, perhaps until the end of May, isn’t under consideration because football practice for the 2021-22 school year begins Aug. 2.

There needs to be a 12-week gap between football seasons, ruled a CIF sports medicine advisory committee. Southern Section officials set that final date at April 17.

Time for each league to just call it.

Folks, it’s nearly March. No one’s really lifting. No one’s hitting. Yes, they’re conditioning.

A couple coaches, painful though it may be, are saying it’s a danger zone to play.

***

This year’s Redlands Bicycle Classic? A website makes a clear proclamation:

“There is no set date for the next Redlands Bicycle Classic. We will return.”

The question, of course, is this: When?

Said Craig Kundig, marketing director: “Still talking to (sponsor San Manuel) and city. If we can pull it off, my guess is mid-October. The week after Sea Otter.”

Original hopes were for April. Way, way, way too many obstacles to overcome — both inside and outside city limits — to pull that off.

RBC officials are working overtime to put this into gear.

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Redlands High Principal Kate Van Luven flagged down the school’s athletic director, Estevan Valencia, at the first cross country meet at REV back on Feb. 13.

Question pending: How many athletes is the campus down due to the pandemic?

Valencia’s quick response: “We’re down 25 percent.”

Some athletes aren’t participating, choosing to opt out. Others, say both Van Luven and Valencia, were forced to choose one sport.

It’s the state CIF-suggested (not mandated) cohort rule at play here.

Rather than risk a soccer player taking a possible virus into an athlete’s second sport — track, tennis, polo? — hopes were to limit to one sport. Limits the virus exposure. Right?

***

Cross-country athletes got the headlines for their week-of-Feb. 11-13 meets. Normally, football and volleyball claim most space in local newspapers among fall sports.

Matt Hornumg claimed superiority over all runners back on Feb. 13 — on his home course at REV, of course. Expect the same in Saturday’s meet at Citrus Valley. Hornung’s 14:57 was a convincing win over all other runners.

Matt Casillas, he said, holds the course record at 14:40. Something to shoot for, perhaps, except there’ll be no more meets at REV.

Then comes the revelation that he’s headed for NCAA Div. III Washington University in St. Louis. Meanwhile, he delivered a solid win over NCAA Division 1 University of Montana-bound Brady Woods of Yucaipa.

***

Hurdles coach Alan Smith has drawn plenty of attention lately from people like So Cal Roadrunners coach Michael Leong and longtime REV track and cross-country coach Andrea Johnson.

Smith, who coached at Yucaipa, REV and Redlands high, died recently and those industry leaders placed some appropriate RIP notices around his sad departure.

Got a sports tip? Want to chat sports? Contact me at obrown@redlandscommunitynews.com