JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — One legacy came to an end, while another could be budding.
Those were the storylines for the two local teams in the Class 1 Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) cross country state championship on Saturday, Nov. 3.
West Platte’s Max Davies ran his final race at the finals at Oak Hills Golf Center and took third place. When forecasting the top challengers for the state title, the Bluejays’ senior was on the short list. In his previous trips, Davies placed third (2017), 11th (2016) and 89th (2015). Davies is the first runner since Daniel Moore from 2001-2003 to place in the top three two years in a row for the Bluejays.
On Saturday, Davies took third by running 17 minutes, 28.18, almost six seconds off the pace of Titus Thompson, a freshman from School of the Osage. The championship went to Weaubleau’s Chase Ratliff, last year’s runner-up, that took the crown in 17:10.73.
The outcome wasn’t what Davies wanted.
“I am disappointed,” Davies said. “It felt pretty fast. It didn’t feel like other times I ran; it felt significantly faster. I don’t know if the course is long since they changed it. Last year, I ran with the guy in first place, but the Titus kid I had never run against before. He was a wild card where low 16s were on short courses. I couldn’t tell what he did.”
His coach, Mike Lowe, didn’t downplay the finish like his star runner did.
“Max ran OK; you know Max didn’t run a lot slower than last year,” Lowe said of Davies, a two-time district and conference champion and three-time all-stater. “Sometimes you get the reward and sometimes you don’t. It is unfortunate. The other guy was good.”
West Platte’s Phillip Pattison took 18th place to earn all-state honors for the second straight year. The junior provided a 1-2 punch with Davies throughout the year and when Davies was ill during the KCI Conference, Pattison paced the Bluejays. Now, he will be looked upon as the team leader next year.
“He is a good leader and he will be instrumental shepherding the young guys along and whoever else we can recruit to join the team,” Lowe said.
West Platte took seventh in the team standings, one spot ahead of North Platte.
“We were hoping for fifth, but we put two guys on the podium,” Lowe said.
The rivals went 1-2 in the team standings at districts the week before with West Platte winning its 19th straight title — a state record.
Freshmen Ryan Pattison and Isaac Helmich, junior Coy Taylor and seniors Matik Heskin and Zach Howerton also ran for West Platte.
North Platte had a team at state for the second time in school history.
That first trip came in 2015, when seniors Zach Lee, Tyler Meadows and Joe DeMarcus were ninth graders.
“It was fitting that they got to finish their cross country careers there after getting to be there as freshmen and then missing the last two years,” North Platte Coach Brendan Cary said. “We had said all year that if our guys could all race well on the same day, we’d be able to do some great things. I think we were as close as possible to that on Saturday. To finish in the top eight at state is a great accomplishment.”
In the first trip, North Platte was 14th in the 16-team standings.
Lee paced the Panthers by taking 51st and Meadows was 59th, almost 10 seconds behind.
Three of the final five runners at state are sophomores: Tyler Davis, Jakob Scroggins and Daniel Fleshman and two seniors in DeMarcus and Chase Bridger.
“We hope to continue the legacy left by a great senior class as we head into next season,” Cary said. “I will never be able to say enough about the leadership, attitude, and sacrifice of the six senior boys (Zach Lee, Tyler Meadows, Joe Demarcus, Chase Bridger, Truman Byergo, and Jayden Brooks) who will be graduating. They have put in countless hours to improve themselves, to grow the program and to leave an example for those following to aspire to.”