LIBERTY — For a few minutes, at least, Platte County not only won a team championship but also had an individual champion at the Tim Nixon Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Wildflower Course near Liberty North.
After the running of the varsity girls’ 5K, results showed that Platte County’s Taylor Giger won the race and that the team took first place with 59 points, one less than Grain Valley to claim the title.
About 30 minutes later, an error on the part of the official timekeepers was corrected and the Pirates left Liberty with a second-place team finish and without an individual champion.
The confusion came from adding Smithville to the ‘Gold’ division, while Grain Valley was in the ‘Silver’ division with Platte County. After those two were traded to the correct division, the individual champion was Smithville’s Olivia Littleton, who ran 19:22.7.
She was the winner of the Gold division but added the Silver division title as well. All of the runners ran the same race and then the computer was supposed to separate teams by division, which were decided by schools that were part of a sectional race last year and those that weren’t.
“We’ve been on the edge mentally and been there physically for so long, today was a major breakthrough,” Giger said. “Mentally we’re in it today and we’re going out there to win.”
Giger finished as the runner-up with a time of 20:35.1, while teammate Maddie Klippenstein took fourth. Ryanne Rhude took eighth to give the Pirates three in the top 10.
Jenna Jurgensmyer’s 17th place finish gave the Pirates four in the top 20 and the team finished with 60 points. Smithville won with 58 points.
On the boys’ side, the Pirates took fifth place overall despite having two of the top 15 runners in the field.
Matthew Sullivan was third and Blake Bjustrom was 11th for Platte County, which came in behind fellow conference mate Kearney, but beat Smithville.
Park Hill South
Quentin Worley took third place to highlight the day for the Panthers by taking third in the Gold division race by finishing in 16:19.
The returning state qualifier was one of three medalists for the boys, while the girls’ team also had three medalists.
Ethan Mick took eighth and Max Goertzen finished 16th for Park Hill South, finishing 33 seconds apart.
The boys were fourth place overall, coming in behind Festus, Liberty and West Plains.
“Overall, our team performed very well,” Park Hill South boys’ coach A.J. Roth said. “The coaches were very pleased with how everyone competed against some of the best teams in the state.”
The Panthers girls’ team was in the silver division and took third place overall with 84 points.
Skyelar Nelson and freshman Ella Conklin took 9th and 10th, respectively, to headline the Panthers’ showing.
“I was really nervous, it is a lot different than eighth grade and seventh grade,” Conklin said. “There was like 50 girls, here there is a lot more. I was scared I would get stuck behind the pack the rest of the race.”
“Personally for me, I can’t start super fast, but I will have to weave my way through the girls.”
Olivia Roth took 19th place for Park Hill South, which was without an injured Paige Snider.
The Trojans had a pair of medalists in Avery Blakley and Abby Fette, both seniors.
Blakley took fifth and Fette was 14th for the Trojans, which took fifth place in the team standings. State qualifier Lelise McKinnon took 18th place and missed a medal for the Trojans.
The girls were fifth place in the standings, while the boys were ninth.
Senior Ryan Fette was 14th to lead the way for Park Hill, which was running without their top two runners from last season.