Platte County turned in record-setting performances in a preview of the state championship course this past weekend.
According to coach Chris Stubbs, the girls team turned in the fastest collective performance in program history behind runner-up Rebekah Geddes, while the boys were right there with any other showing, placing ninth in a stacked field at the Capital City Challenge — run at Oak Hills Golf Center in Jefferson City, Mo. Oak Hills will again be the course for the Missouri State Cross Country Championships early next month.
Geddes finished a little more than 7 seconds back of winner Tessa Valdivia of Blue Springs (18 minutes, 59.17 seconds), but the junior standout approached the 19-minute mark again. Her 19:06.73 put her about 40 seconds in front of third-place Abigail Juedemann of Lindbergh with the top two running away from the field.
Platte County ended up fourth in the final team standings with juniors Jessica Clark (12th) and Erin Straubel (14th) completing the Pirates’ strong top three. All five runners counting in the team standings ran 21:45 or faster.
Park Hill South, last year’s Class 4 District 8 champion, came in second in a top three well split from Platte County.
Marti Heit led the Panthers, who clipped Blue Springs by two points, with a sixth-place finish (19:51.77), and the team pack followed right in behind Platte County’s Straubel. Emma Roth (18th), Jasmine Crawford (22nd) and Olivia Roth (26th) and Mallory Michel (32nd) were separated by about 24 seconds to complete Park Hill South’s team score.
Platte County finished a distant eighth behind Park Hill South in last year’s District 8 meet at Platte Ridge Park but hopes to compete a lot closer in this year’s postseason.
On the boys side, all eight Platte County runners finished under 19:15 with the top four breaking 18 minutes. Jackson Letcher, a sophomore and the only returning state qualifier for the Pirates, led the way in fifth at 16:27.21, coming across the line in a bunched pack of runners taking third through seventh.
Evan Edwards (59th), Keegan Cordova (61st) and Nick Bjustrom (68th) — two juniors and a sophomore — ensured Platte County’s strong team finish, separated by almost exactly 10 seconds. The Pirates were ninth overall out of 27 teams, just eight out of eighth place.
Park Hill South came in fourth behind a pair of top-10 finishers. David Rouse and Ewan Frick — two juniors — came just .03 seconds apart in ninth and 10th for the Panthers, who put seven in the top 50 of a 205-runner field.
Lee’s Summit North (107) was just 13 in front of Park Hill South for third.
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Park Hill sophomore Parker Canfield continued to lead the Trojans during a large meet Saturday, Oct. 1 in Peculiar, Mo. He finished 27th, helping Park Hill come in 16th out of 27 teams.
On the girls side, Park Hill finished 11th out of 22 with Madison King (52nd) and Grace Fink (56th) the top finishers.
Three sophomores finished in the top-half of a 57-runner field Tuesday, Sept. 27 in St. Joseph, Mo., helping North Platte finish fourth in the final team standings. The Panthers totaled 112 points and were six in front of fifth-place Plattsburg out of seven teams.
North Platte’s Tyler Meadows finished the course at Krug Park in 20:23.80, good for 17th, while sophomore teammates Zach Lee (23rd) and Joe DeMarcus (24th) finished just 10 seconds apart.
A junior, North Platte’s Bailee Romaker placed ninth in the girls race at 24:09.50.
Despite some injuries, West Platte finished fifth out of 10 teams Thursday, Sept. 29 in Horton, Kan. with sophomore Max Davies winning the individual title. He finished in 19:12 and led from start to finish, opening up a good margin over the rest of the field in the final 1,000 meters.
The last West Platte runner to win a race was Spencer Hudson in 2012.
Andy Cicha finished in 13th place followed by Connor McNair in 28th. Matix Heskin, Drake Stelljes (who lowered his PR by 4 seconds) and Zac Howerton rounded out the varsity team.