West Platte continued its streak of district titles, and North Platte recorded a program first Saturday, Oct. 31 on the campus of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Mo. The Bluejays topped the field in the Class 1 District 8 standings with five runners in the top 16, while North Platte recorded a team total of 82 — 25 back of first place — to earn the first team berth to the Missouri State Cross Country Championships for the young program. The Panthers placed their top five runners 26th place or better to beat out St. Joseph Christian by nine points for the second and final automatic qualifying spot.
Behind a record run for sophomore Andrew Cicha, West Platte won its 16th straight team district championship.
Cicha finished in 18 minutes, 53.30 seconds to place eighth and set a new personal record time, and the top five for the Bluejays ended up finishing within a minute of each other. Daniel Cicha, a senior, came in right behind Andrew Cicha in ninth place (18:58.10), while freshman Max Davies continued his breakout season with a 14th-place showing (19:19.80).
All three earned all-district honors.
Justin Howard (18th, 19:48.60) and Connor Penrod (19th, 19:50.00) rounded out the top five for West Platte. Both runners also set new PRs with Howard smashing his previous best by 1:20.
Dylan Stockman, a senior, earned a second straight state berth by placing seventh (18:46.50), but this time, the rest of the Panthers will go and make state debuts. Eric Brown, another senior, rounded out the top 10 in 19:12.50, while Tyler Meadows, a freshman, rounded out the top 20 at 19:58.40.
Stockman placed 65th as an individual at state last year, while West Platte took 11th as a team out of 16 with Daniel Cicha in the top 30. This year’s state race will be held Saturday, Nov. 6 at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City, Mo.
On the girls side, West Platte and North Platte earned two individual state berths apiece while coming agonizingly close to earning a team spot.
Only five teams had the required five to qualify for the team standings, and South Nodaway (47) and Mound City (58) earned the two automatic spots. North Platte came in third with 64 with West Platte right behind in fourth at 73.
North Platte sophomore McKenna Fulton ran 23:32.80 to place ninth, while junior Shelby Fisher came in shortly after at 23:40.40 to earn a return trip to state. They both competed last year as part of the Panthers’ first-ever state qualifying team.
With the top 15 individuals qualifying, North Platte junior Katie Parkhurst (16th) and sophomore Bailee Romaker (17th) just missed the cut.
Lea Moose (fifth) and Rachel Heili (sixth) finished back-to-back to lead West Platte’s effort in the 47-runner field. A freshman, Moose earned a state spot in her first try, while Heili returns to Jefferson City after placing 34th as a freshman.