West Platte will get a chance to defend their Class 1 girls title, part of a record-setting day for the cross country program.
The Bluejays won the Class 1 District 8 championship on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Donaldson Westside Park in Maryville, Mo., with 35 points to earn one of two berths out of the district.
That marked a second straight title for first time in school history for the girls, while the boys continued the state’s most impressive streak.
The Bluejays win extended their state record with a 19th straight district title behind a champion-effort from Max Davies.
“There was a point in the season were another district title seemed to be in question, but the boys really laid it on the line and came out and did what they had to do to win,” West Platte coach Mike Lowe said. “The ladies started the year with the goal of repeating as district champs for the first time and they succeeded. Now, to defend their state title.”
West Platte had five of the top 15 runners, led by sophomore Sophia Rush, who was third (21 minutes. 16.89 seconds), behind district champion Ashley Riley of Platte Valley — last year’ state champion — and Malyana Briner of North Andrew.
Lexi Elmore was eighth, followed by Lindsay Goodwin in 12th and Lea Moose and Isabella Clark were 14th and 15th, respectively. Also running was sophomore Katy Tharp, who took 21st before leaving to join the volleyball team in Sedalia, while freshman Kaitlynn Groom set a personal record and took 23rd place.
North Platte missed out on a girls berth at state, coming in third, eight points behind the runner-up St. Joseph Christian.
The Panthers will still have two runners at the state meet, led by a pair of top-10 finishers in junior Savannah Lingle (ninth) and freshman Jenna Cassity (10th). Madi O’Neill was 16th — a spot away from all-district honors — and Alexis Stewart was 18th, just missing the state cut. Brianna Bridger, who also plays volleyball in the fall, took 34th and Jessica Meadows was 41st.
“Savannah has had her eye on State since she was in junior high and it means so much to her to get this opportunity,” North Platte coach Brendan Cary said. “For Jenna, coming in with high expectations as a freshman, has never backed down and has PR’d almost every meet this season. Both have a great chance to pick up All-State medals this weekend in their first (and last) opportunity to run at Oak Hills.”
For the North Platte boys, seniors Zachary Lee (19.32.75) and Tyler Meadows, taking ninth and 10th place, respectively. Daniel Fleshman just missed an all-district spot by placing 16th. Other top-25 runners for North were: Jakob Scroggins (19th), Joe DeMarcus (20th), Chase Bridger (24th) and Tyler Davis (25th).
North Platte finished with 53 points but came in behind West Platte’s 35.
“We have a tremendous mix of experience and youth put together to give us one of the strongest teams we’ve field,” Cary said. “Joe, Tyler Meadows, and Zach were state qualifiers their freshman year, but then struggled the last two years at the Class 2 level and now get one final chance to finish out their careers on the big stage. They have been helped along by the development of our sophomores (Danny Fleshman, Jakob Scroggins, and Tyler Davis), who have given us the depth that we have needed to compete. I can’t overstate the fact that the character and leadership of our seniors (including Jayden Brooks and Truman Byergo as well) have helped instill a vision in all our athletes that we can do great things when we work hard and work as a family.”
Davies, who missed a race after dealing with an illness, won his second straight district title, finished in 17:23.78 — winning by 36 seconds ahead of runner-up Lane Zembles from Mound City.
Phillip Pattison was third for West Platte, while Matik Heskin (12th) and Isaac Helmich (14th) were also all-district runners for the Bluejays — and all three either ran season or career best times.
The top seven was rounded out by Zac Howerton in 17th; Ryan Pattison in 22nd and Coy Taylor in 34th.
Next up for the Bluejays and Panthers is the state championships on Saturday, Nov. 3 in Jefferson City.
The boys will race at 11:20 a.m., while the girls will run at 12:30 p.m.