West Platte cross country 7th at home invite, 2nd in KCI

West Platte’s boys finished their home meet in seventh place in the final team standings out of 15 schools with enough runners qualify. The Bluejays hosted the West Platte Invitational on Oct. 18 at Platte Ridge Park in Platte City — site of the upcoming Class 1, 2 and 3 District 8 meets on Nov. 1. The meet also doubled as the KCI Conference Championships.

Braxton Hill and Daniel Cicha finished side by side in 18 minutes, 28 seconds to place 12th and 13th, respectively, for the Blue Jays, who were second in the KCI behind fourth-place Lawson. Hill beat his more experienced teammate by a fraction of a second, the first time to beat him this season.

St. James Academy took home the team title with a team score of 36. All six runners from the prep school finished in the top 20 with four in the top ten. Riley Gorham of Hardin-Central completed the course in 17:15 to win. Andrew Cicha, a freshman, finished next for West Platte in 58th place (20:14)

Platte County’s junior varsity placed eighth in the tune-up race before the Class 4 District 8 race Oct. 25. Sophomore Nick Rhude finished in 31st for the Pirates (19:10), and Connor Stuart was 51st (19:56).

North Platte finished in 11th place overall and fourth in the KCI.

Blake Romaker led the Panthers (49th place, 19:40), and Eric Brown came in 63rd (20:26). Ben Heese (86th, 21:32), a freshman, rounded out the top three finishers for North Platte.

On the girls side, Platte County finished fifth out of 12 qualifying teams, led by senior Shelly Laures (21st, 22:43). The recently crowned homecoming queen continues to gain cross country miles after the conclusion of her tennis career on Oct. 3. Lauren Johnson (25th, 22:59) and Olivia Orf (38th, 23:45) rounded out the Pirates top three.

West Platte’s Rachel Heili (30th, 23:23) led the host’s contingent with the Bluejays still piecing together a roster to qualify a team score. Four ran for them in this race, still one short of the five required.

Gretchen Hiatt (62nd, 25:37) , Makayla Wardlow (81st 26:52) and Taylor Binkley (84th 27:18) rounded out the rest of the Bluejays roster.

North Platte finished ninth overall and four out of five qualifying KCI teams with 225 team points — more than 200 behind St. James Academy’s winning total of 19. St. James swept the top three spots led by race-winner Judi Jones (19:42) and had six girls finish in the top eight.

Bailee Romaker led North Platte’s efforts with a 35th-place finish (23:37). Junior Rayanne Daniel (51st, 24:52) and sophomore Shelby Fisher (52nd 24:53) rounded out the Panthers’ top three.

West Platte boys are looking to defend their streak of 15 straight Class 1 District 8 team Championships.