Park Hill South sweeps conference cross country titles

Park Hill South swept the individual titles at Oct. 11’s Suburban League Red Division meet, and the Panthers girls also put on a dominant first-place display at the Smithville Lake Dame Course in Smithville, Mo. Lexi Maddox, Emma Roth and Marti Heit went 1-2-3 for Park Hill South, and second-place Liberty came in 32 points behind the Panthers. Maddox, a sophomore, finished in 19 minutes, 22.30 seconds and beat her freshman teammate to the line by more than 18 seconds.

In last year’s conference championships, Maddox finished seventh when Lee’s Summit West — now up in the Suburban Gold — ran away with the team title. Park Hill South’s Jasmine Crawford, runner-up last year and the top returner, added a fifth-place showing for the Panthers.

On the boys side, Park Hill South senior Tucker Melles claimed the conference title after coming in second last year, but the Panthers couldn’t defend their team title, losing out by 15 points to newcomer Liberty in the final team standings. The Blue Jays dropped down from the Gold Division this year.

Melles finished in 16:20.40 to top Liberty’s Matt Alvey by more than 10 seconds. Liberty’s Brandon Colner came in third about a second behind with Park Hill South senior Darrien Case in fourth at 16:38.40. The Panthers’ other top-10 showing came from senior Tristan McCoy (17:07.10).

Park Hill came in fourth in the boys and girls team standings.

Kyle Pudenz led the Trojans boys with a seventh-place effort (17:04.40), but they did not have another runner in the top 15, finishing 41 points back of third-place St. Joseph Central.

Park Hill’s girls were fourth out of the four qualifying teams.

Chris Wright, a freshman, came in eighth at 19:23.80, while senior Mercedes Robinson (19:29.20) rounded out the top 10. The Trojans were only 16 points back of Liberty and seven behind St. Joseph Central in a tight group behind the runaway winners from Park Hill South.

Suburban League Blue Division

Platte County senior Nathan Straubel and sophomore Hunter Long moved up the conference chart but still couldn’t do enough to help the Pirates catch up to Kearney in the team standings. The Bulldogs swept every title Oct. 11 at Jesse James Park in Kearney, Mo.

Straubel wound up second in 16:18.50, well back of victorious Kearney sophomore Clayton Adams (15:51.40), who led a 1-3-5-6-9 showing for the Bulldogs on their home course. Long helped break up the showing with a fourth-place finish, as Platte County senior Nolan Orf (eighth, 17:55.80), freshman Evan Edwards (10th, 18:09.10) and sophomore George McMillian (11th, 18:09.10).

Kearney finished with a team total of 24 to Platte County’s 35.

Last year, Straubel and Long finished back-to-back in fourth and fifth in a meet dominated by Liberty North, now running two levels up in the Suburban Gold. Kearney’s girls were almost as dominant in moving up to claim Liberty North’s now-vacated spot.

Olivia Franklin, a senior, finished in 18:48.70 to easily claim the individual title, and the Bulldogs went 1-5-7-8-10 to beat second-place Winnetonka by 15 points. The Griffins went 2-3 with Platte County freshman Rebekah Geddes continuing her breakout campaign with a fourth-place showing (19:27.40).

Fellow freshman Erin Straubel was sixth for the third-place Pirates (20:07.90).