West Platte boys claim 15th straight district XC title

West Platte continued its run of dominance in the Class 1 District 8 meet Nov. 1 at Platte Ridge Park. For the 15th straight year, the Bluejays collected the team title and earned their trip to the Missouri State Cross Country Championships, set for this weekend at Oak Ridge Golf Course in Jefferson City, Mo. West Platte finished with 52 team points — a seven-point cushion over second place Maysville, which took home the individual championship when senior Michael Walling repeated as winner (17 minutes, 32.7 seconds).

West Platte junior Daniel Cicha – now a two-time state qualifier after 39th a year ago — placed fifth (18:14.8) and Braxton Hill followed in sixth (18:31.8) to pace the title-winning effort. Conner Penrod finished 26th, 20:29.1 to clinch the win as the fifth runner to cross the line.

The third and fourth West Platte runners to cross the line — Andrew Cicha (14th,19:25.3) and Davis Pilloni (17th, 19:51.8) — ran personal bests to solidify the effort.

North Platte will send two individuals to state after a fourth-place team showing (80 points). The top two teams advance to state along with any runner in the top 30 not from the automatic qualifiers.

Dylan Stockman (eighth, 18:42.3), and Blake Romaker (12th 19:16.0) finished in the top 15 for the Panthers, finishing up their third year in program history. Romaker, now a senior, has qualified each year and improved from 90th at state as a sophomore to 45th last season.

West Platte finished third as a team at the state meet last season after winning the team title in 2012. The Blue Jays have earned a state trophy — given to the top four teams in the standings — each of the past three years (third in 2011).

The North Platte girls booked their first ever trip to state in their second year competing as a team. The Panthers qualified two individuals last year -- Erin Manville and Raynne Daniel, who returns as a two-time qualifier.

Shelby Fisher (12th, 23:42.8), a sophomore, earned the top spot for North Platte, coming in 1:35 behind winner Kendey Eaton of team champion Mound City (32 points). North Platte ended up with 56 points to fend off DeKalb for the second state spot by just six points.

Bailee Romaker (13th, 23:55.4), Daniel (16th 24:34.9), McKenna Fulton (18th 24:40.4) and Hannah Rice (27th 26:16.0) rounded out the top five for North Platte.

West Platte, which finished fourth out of four qualifying teams — 76 points — will send one individual to the race — freshman Rachel Heili, who grabbed the bronze on the day with a 22:47.1 effort.