Butler makes quick return to help Platte County's 4x400 relay

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Doubt entered Keyondra Butler’s mind throughout the week.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County senior Keyondra Butler, right, runs off the track after handing to junior teammate Rebekah Geddes, center, for the last leg of the Class 4 Sectional 4 4x400-meter relay for the Pirates on Saturday, May 20 at Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Mo. 

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County senior Keyondra Butler, right, runs off the track after handing to junior teammate Rebekah Geddes, center, for the last leg of the Class 4 Sectional 4 4x400-meter relay for the Pirates on Saturday, May 20 at Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Mo. 

But with a little confidence from Platte County coach Gabe Middleton, the Pirates’ senior came back one for big race and rewarded the faith. Butler ran the third leg of the third-place 4x400-meter relay Saturday, May 20 at Blue Springs South High School just one week after her season nearly ended with an unfortunate mishap.

While practicing handoffs during the Sectional 8 meet, Butler tripped and fell to the turf at Park Hill District Stadium, suffering severe lacerations to her face and right arm.

“A lot of doubt. I’m still in pain,” Butler said. “I just had to make it. I wanted to go to state.”

Platte County freshman Isabelle Geddes and juniors Jessica Clark and Rebekah Geddes teamed back up with Butler in the 4x400 this week. With Butler back in the fold, the Pirates finished in 4:06.78 — just slightly off the school record they set two weeks earlier in the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships.

Butler did not return to the 4x200 and spent much of the day wearing a protective surgical mask over her face. She ditched it for the race and also took the baton with her left hand while still favoring the heavily taped right elbow injured the week prior.

“The pain in my arm was like gone. I didn’t feel anything,” Butler said. “I just saw Middleton with his stopwatch and thought, ‘I gotta go.’ I didn’t expect (to run that well).”

The 4x400’s state bid gave sisters Isabelle and Rebekah Geddes four events each for this week’s Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County junior Rebekah Geddes finishes ahead of the pack in the Class 4 Sectional 4 800-meter run Saturday, May 20 in Blue Springs, Mo.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County junior Rebekah Geddes finishes ahead of the pack in the Class 4 Sectional 4 800-meter run Saturday, May 20 in Blue Springs, Mo.

Already a six-time all-state finisher, Rebekah Geddes won the 1,600 in a comfortable 5:21.61 then set a career-best in the 800 at 2:17.71 — just shy of completing her re-authoring of  Platte County’s long distance records. Rebekah Geddes already owns the marks for cross country, the 1,600 and 3,200 while running on the record 4x800 team a year ago and this year’s 4x400 team but ended up 0.60 of a second off of Elizabeth Robbins’ state-winning time of 2:17.11 set back in 2000.

Rebekah Geddes will now have one final chance to add another record to her impressive list.

“I’m pretty hopeful,” said Rebekah Geddes, who gave up the 3,200 this year to provide a better break before the 4x400. “That’s the last one I need to hit and break 5 (minutes in the mile).”

Isabelle Geddes turned in a record day to come away with four state berths, as well.

After setting a personal-best 16.16 to finish fourth in the 100 hurdles, the freshman phenom bettered her own school record set earlier this season in the 300 hurdles. She closed the gap on District 8 and Sectional 4 winner McKenzie Pearson of Center.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County freshman Rebekah Geddes competes in the 300-meter hurdles race during the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet Saturday, May 20 in Blue Springs, Mo.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County freshman Rebekah Geddes competes in the 300-meter hurdles race during the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet Saturday, May 20 in Blue Springs, Mo.

Pearson won Saturday’s race in 44.54 with Isabelle Geddes second in 45.77 — about a half second better than her school record mark set in the Capital City Relays last month.

“It’s going to be super fun,” Rebekah Geddes said. “I think whatever she does will be great.”
In addition to the individual berths, Rebekah Geddes ran on the state qualifying 4x400 and 4x800, while Isabelle Geddes took a leg on the state qualifying 4x200 and 4x400.

The 4x800 of Rebekah Geddes, Clark, junior Erin Straubel and freshman Lexi Elmore came in just off Platte County’s season-best while finishing fourth in 10:05.77 — 21 seconds off the school record set at state in 2016.  Without Butler, the 4x200 team remained intact from District 8 with Isabelle Geddes, seniors Tori Farr and Amanda Sullivan and junior Karleigh Wise.

With Sullivan taking a spot just minutes after Butler’s injury, Platte County set a season-best to win the District 8 race, and the same quartet was just off that time while finishing third Saturday.

Platte County’s Elmore also set a personal record by 16 seconds and ducked under the 12-minute mark while finishing second in the 3,200 for an individual state berth. Clark, part of two state-bound relays, also finished fourth behind Rebekah Geddes in the 800 — giving the Pirates’ two state spots in that event.

Farr also an individual state berth with another school-record performance in the long jump.

After setting the mark at 17-3¼ a week ago to advance out of districts, Farr went over 17-4 early in her four jumps at sectionals. She ended up needing to go even further, and her jump of 18-1 late put her in the state spots and gave her a third-place finish Saturday.

Liz Peterson, another Platte County senior, also waited until late to earn her state spot.

Injured all of last season, Peterson made huge jumps in her shot put distances early in the season, setting a PR of more than 38 feet. She ended up throwing 35-10 on her final attempt Saturday to jump up to third place. 
 

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County senior Tori Farr hits the sand on a long jump attempt in the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet Saturday, May 20 at Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Mo.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County senior Tori Farr hits the sand on a long jump attempt in the Class 4 Sectional 4 meet Saturday, May 20 at Blue Springs South High School in Blue Springs, Mo.