In his first season, the Platte County freshman just kept improving and ended up as the first freshman to qualify for the Class 4 Missouri State Cross Country Championships in program history. The Pirates are competing at that level for a second straight season.
Letcher finished in 17:14.7 on Saturday, Oct. 31 at Jesse James Park in Kearney, Mo. That was good enough for 16th in Class 4 Sectional 4 and well above the individual state cut, which goes to the top 30. Letcher was just one of seven freshmen in Class 4 to place in the top 30 over the weekend.
Park Hill’s Hunter Lund, a junior transfer from Virginia, also earned his first Class 4 state berth in Missouri. He placed seventh in 16:56.2 to earn the Trojans’ lone state spot.
Coming off the first team state berth in program history, Park Hill South qualified five individuals from District 8 the previous weekend, allowing the Panthers to compete as a team at Sectional 4. They ended up seventh out of nine teams with a team total of 140, just 22 back of fourth-place Liberty for the final automatic qualifying spot.
However, Ewan Frick (12th, 17:07.0) and Eli Guzman (20th, 17:17.6) — a pair of sophomores — earned individual berths and will compete at state for a second straight season.
With the opposite outcome, Park Hill South’s girls finally made it to state, one year after injuries led to a disappointing showing at sectionals. The Panthers — District 8 champions — placed all of their top five in the top 25 to post a team total of 54 and beat District 7 champion Blue Springs South by 18 points, despite the Jaguars having the race winner (Victoria Findley, 18:51.7) and the top two finishers from the eight teams competing for automatic berths.
Lexi Maddox, a junior, took seventh for Park Hill South (20:02.7) and will go to state for the third straight year. Marti Heit (ninth, 20:05.4) and Emma Roth (15th, 20:24.8) make the trip back after qualifying as individuals a year ago.
Jasmine Crawford, a junior, placed 23rd and goes back to state after qualifying as a freshman but being unable to qualify as a sophomore due to a foot injury. Mallory Michel, another junior, rounded out the top five for Park Hill South, coming in one spot behind Crawford.
Platte County sophomore Rebekah Geddes followed up her District 8 championship with a runner-up showing. She came in at 19:45.5 to beat Winnetonka’s Emma Evans to the line by 4 seconds. Findley won the race in 18:51.7.
Geddes placed 16th at state as a freshman.
Park Hill’s Jillian Roepe came in 17th at 20:27.2, good enough to earn the senior her first state trip. Erin Straubel, Platte County’s only other sectional qualifier, came in 54th to complete her sophomore season.