Platte County's Geddes runs to district cross country title

Rebekah Geddes put up a record-setting performance on her home course, even if the layout looks slightly different this season. Held out of last month’s Platte County Invitational as part of a season strategy to give the Pirates sophomore more rest, she claimed the first ever Class 4 district title for the program on Saturday, Oct. 25 in her first look of 2015 at the course at Platte Ridge Park in Platte City. She claimed the District 8 championships in 19 minutes, 4.9 seconds — well better than her freshmen efforts at home.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Platte County sophomore Rebekah Geddes won the Class 4 District 8 championship Saturday, Oct. 24 at Platte Ridge Park in Platte City.

This year’s layout at Platte Ridge Park had to be altered with construction ongoing for a trio of new football fields at the county-operated facility.

“It’s really exciting (to be district champion),” said Geddes, who won two races at Platte Ridge Park last year with times in the upper-19-minute range. “It wasn’t my goal. My goal was to run fast. It’s really surprising. My original goal was to break the 19-minute mark, but I was close enough so I’m happy with it.”

Geddes finished about 15 seconds in front of Park Hill South’s Lexi Maddox, who won the Platte County Invitational this season.

In addition to Geddes, Platte County sophomore Erin Straubel also qualified for next week’s Class 4 Sectional 4 race scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31 at Jesse James Park in Kearney, Mo. She missed out on reaching sectionals by just four spots last year, placing just outside the top-30 cut necessary for individuals not from one of the four automatic qualifying teams.

Platte County placed eighth out 11 in the final team standings.

Maddox, a junior, led Park Hill South to the team title after the Panthers finished second a season ago. They finished with 49 points, easily in front of second-place Staley (94).

Park Hill South continued its strong season with a roster full of underclassmen.

“It’s a good group of girls,” Park Hill South coach Pam Jurgensmeyer said. “They’ve been working really hard all season. They were really functioning well today. It’s great to see them all run well and put all of the pieces together today.”

Maddox (19:18.3) and sophomore Marti Heit (fifth, 19:44.9) led Park Hill South, which placed all five scoring runners in the top 20. Jasmine Crawford, a junior, came in 13th, while sophomore Emma Roth followed closely behind in 15th with junior Mallory Michel three spots back of her in 18th. Crawford returns to sectionals for the first time since her freshman year, when she qualified for the Class 4 Missouri State Cross Country Championships. She missed last year’s postseason with a stress fracture in her foot.

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Park Hill senior Jillian Roepe runs ahead at the front of a pack during the Class 4 District 8 meet Saturday, Oct. 24 at Platte Ridge Park in Platte City.

Park Hill South ended up eighth at Sectional 4 last year, well out of contention for one of the four automatic qualifying spots. Roth and Maddox both made the state cut as individuals with Maddox already a two-time qualifier.

“All of our hard work is finally paying off,” Crawford said. “It makes me feel a lot better about last year, and I’m running healthier. I will be able to do something more this year. It’s more fun to run than it is to watch. Watching last year and seeing how far they got without me makes me realize how far we can get now that I’m running with them. ”

Park Hill senior Jillian Roepe also made the Sectional 4 cut, placing 11th. The Trojans were ninth as a team with 212 points. Roepe did not reach sectionals a year ago.

On the boys side, Park Hill South narrowly missed an automatic team sectional berth after finishing with 103 points — just three behind St. Joseph Central’s 100 in fourth for the final team spots. The Panthers will however have a team score at next week’s Sectional 4 meet after qualifying five individuals in the top 30 places.

Last year, Park Hill South finished as runner-up in districts and grabbed the program’s first ever team berth to state. Minus, standout seniors, Darrien Case and Tucker Melles, the Panthers have rebuilt, and sophomores Ewan Frick and Eli Guzman and juniors Andrew Reece and Alex Lee were among the five sectional qualifiers after running at state a year ago.

Brendan Briody — a junior — rounds out the Panthers top five set to compete at Kearney for a state spot.

Staley finished with 57 points to claim the team championship while Park Hill came in seventh (151) and Platte County eighth (193) in the 10-team field. Platte County freshman Jackson Letcher qualified with an 11th-place finish (17:07) — one of only 18 freshman boys among the 240 sectional qualifiers in Class 4.

Fellow freshman Keegan Cordova finished in 33rd, just three spots out of qualifying with a time of 18:00 — a personal-best by 5 seconds.

Park Hill will have three individuals participate at sectionals, including junior transfer Hunter Lund (fifth, 16:38.9). Parker Canfield (14th; 17:20.5) — another freshman qualifier — and sophomore Christian Sloane (30th, 17:48.8) will also be in the field for the Trojans.

Sloane came in .01 of a second in front of Liberty North’s Justin Madison for the 30th and final sectional spot.

Richmond Invitational

A familiar threesome led the West Platte boys during their final meet of the regular season Wednesday, Oct. 21 in Richmond, Mo.

Andy Cicha (22nd), Daniel Cicha (26th) and Max Davies (28th) finished within 22 seconds of each other in the final tuneup before the postseason. The Bluejays wound up sixth out of 15 teams in the final standings.

On the girls side, West Platte only had three runners, and Lea Moose posted a top-10 finish (23:22) to earn a medal.

West Platte and North Platte compete Saturday, Oct. 31 in the Class 1 District 8 meet scheduled at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. West Platte’s boys have won 15 straight district titles and will look to continue that streak, while North Platte’s girls want to make the second overall and second straight trip for the young program.

North Platte’s boys just missed the cut in 2014 and want to earn their first state berth as well.