After the girls dominated most of the 2016 headlines, West Platte’s boys hope to show some improvement this year and catch up a bit.
The Bluejays lost senior leader Daniel Cicha after he qualified for the Class 2 Missouri State Track and Field Championships last year in the 1,600-meters. He also ran a leg on the state-bound 4x800 team, which returns senior Andrew Cicha, junior Dylan Lock and sophomore Max Davies.
In addition, Andrew Cicha (3,200) and Davies (1,600) were sectional qualifiers for West Platte who were in the hunt for state berths. Cameron Johnson, who underwent knee surgery after football season, advanced out of districts in the shot put and hopes to return and team with Quinn Johnson for a solid 1-2 in throwing events.
“I think we’re going to be competitive in most of the meets that we go to,” said West Platte coach Steve Feiden, taking over the boys team after athletic director Brad Basel stepped down. “We’ve got enough guys to round out a complete team, and we’re going to really focus on our middle and long distance runners and relay teams to score points.”
West Platte’s girls enjoyed a breakout season and brings almost everyone back.
Sydney Oberdiek, a senior, has medaled at state in both throwing events each of the past two seasons — runner-up in both as a sophomore and third in discus with a new personal record and seventh in shot put as a junior. The 4x800 team grabbed the only other 2016 state medal, and juniors Rachel Heili and Sikoya Richard and sophomores Lea Moose and Lindsay Goodwin will be back after coming within 7 seconds of the school record in the event.
Heili, Richard, Goodwin and junior Ciara Davies were on the Bluejays’ state qualifying 4x400 team.
Davies (400) and Richard (800) were also individual qualifiers to state, while Heili (800), Moose (3,200) and senior Emily Norman (100 hurdles) reached sectionals. Heili and Moose were both fifth-place finishers, one spot away from state.
With all of the returning talent, coach Bailee Giger looked at West Platte’s history to motivate the team.
“I took the girls in the gym the first day and told them to look for the girls track banner, and there’s not a girls track banner so we really want to hang one up this year,” said Giger, who moves up from an assistant to be the head girls coach with Basel’s retirement. “We finished second in our district by three points which is pretty disappointing for us just because of how hard the girls worked so we’re looking at being competitive in our district again.”