Lexi Hanson continues to keep her eye on a spot in Division I, but for now, the Platte County senior’s collegiate career will start at Butler County (Kan.) Community College.During a ceremony Wednesday, Feb. 25 at Platte County High School, Hanson became the third and final member of the Pirates’ standout senior class to make her commitment this season. Platte County’s four-year catcher has been in contact with many large programs, including Baylor University, but didn’t receive an immediate opportunity to play at that level.
Eight athletes were honored during the most recent ceremony, although they had already signed and faxed their official letters of intent prior to that day.
“It’s a big deal for Platte County,” she said. “Our senior class has a lot of really good athletes that are going on to play at the next level, so I’m excited for everyone.”
Hanson, along with fall college signees Jessie Hoover (Central Arkansas) and Courtney Seymour (North Central Missouri College), helped lead Platte County to a 25-7 record this past season and a berth in the Class 3 state championship game, which ended in a 3-0 loss to DeSoto. The Pirates made their fourth trip to the Missouri State Softball Championships in program history — their first time since making three straight trips to the final four from 2007 to 2009.
In 32 starts, Hanson amassed a .390 on-base percentage with 19 RBIs and 33 hits. She tied for the team-high in triples (two) and home runs (two), while committing just two errors on defense.
Platte County volleyball also saw two more players join the college ranks, upping its total from this record-setting senior class to six.
This past season, the Pirates went 33-3-2 — a single-season program record for wins — and reached the Class 4 quarterfinals in the their second straight playoff appearance.
Platte County previously made two other appearances in the quarterfinals but not since moving up to Missouri’s largest classification.
Riley Stephens, headed to Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., played only one season for Platte County after transferring from the St. Louis area this past summer. She made an impact, playing in 79 of 81 sets, and finished fourth for the Pirates in kills (136) and third in ace blocks (57).
Kylee Julian also signed with Longview Community College in Lee’s Summit, Mo. She played three seasons with Platte County but opted to stay with her club team this past fall.
Platte County football added a fourth commitment out of its six-member senior class.
Devin Perry announced at the ceremony he will walk on at Missouri Western this fall after earning first team All-Suburban League Blue Division and All-Class 4 District 8 honors this past fall as a defensive end. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior finished with 55 tackles (six for loss) and a team-high five sacks, helping the Pirates rebound from three wins in 2013 to 9-2 and a share of the division title.
The three other football players honored made their commitments official on national signing day in early February. All four will be playing Division II at MIAA schools.
“It’s nice to see a large percentage of kids going,” Platte County coach Bill Utz said. “Obviously, the flip side of that is there’s not many in that senior class, but what a senior class. We had a great year. All of them are unbelievable contributors, and these guys going on to play, it’s a great reward for them.”
Aliek Reed opted for Washburn after finishing his career with 86 catches for 1,951 yards and 21 touchdowns, including 29 for a team-highs of 793 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014. He earned Missouri Football Coaches Association all-state honors this past fall.
Drew Oberle and Tyler Cooper were both a part of Central Missouri’s signing class.
A multi-talented 6-4, 215-pound threat, Cooper transitioned to receiver and tied Reed for the team-high in catches with 29, finishing with 341 yards and two touchdowns after starting at quarterback as a junior (1,896 yards and 22 touchdowns). He also played defensive end and tied Reed for team-high in picks with three — one returned for a score in a win against Winnetonka — along with 30 tackles, 3½ sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Oberle played just one season at Platte County after transferring from Lake Travis High School in Texas where he started at right guard as a junior, earning honorable mention Class 5A all-district honors. The 6-5, 245-pound right tackle anchored a balanced offense that ran and passed for more than 2,000 yards this season while averaging 33.8 points per game.
Even with opportunities to play elsewhere, Oberle is happy to land in Warrensburg, Mo. with a new-found friend.
“I really had no friends or anything when I first moved here,” he said. “But Tyler is definitely one of my friends and knowing that I’m starting over again, to actually know someone, have a friend there to help you out is nice. Plus, he’s a cool dude, and we make a good team.”
Chloe West, a four-year starter as an outside defender, became the first member of the soccer team to sign with its season ready to start in a couple of weeks. A second team pick to both the All-Suburban Conference Blue Division and All-Class 2 District 16 team last year, she signed with Allen (Kan.) Community College.