Platte County’s season might be more about depth than top end talent this season, and that could still produce some special results.
With just one loss to the boys’ top seven and a few unplanned departures for the girls, coach Chris Stubbs acknowledges the two unique challenges. One team will need to continue to develop and build on the progress made last year in the Class 4 District 8 meet. The other will need to retool and establish a new core.
On the boys side, Platte County not only returns two-time Class 4 Missouri State Cross Country Championships qualifier Jackson Letcher, a junior, but six of its top seven from last year’s postseason. The Pirates were seventh out of 10 teams at District 8 with Letcher and fellow junior Keegan Cordova advancing to Sectional 4 as individuals.
In addition, seniors Evan Edwards and Nick Bjustrom, junior Jacob Laures and sophomore Evan McPhatter were on Platte County’s postseason team that ran its best at the end of the season. The only runner not back is Jared Maksudian, who suffered through a disappointing postseason race and ended up seventh among Platte County’s runners at District 8.
“Our 4-5-6-7 are definitely going to be bunched, which will be a good thing for us,” Platte County coach Chris Stubbs said.
Despite having only one senior in the postseason lineup, Platte County’s girls must deal with the loss of two juniors and a freshman who were three of the top four finishers for the Pirates in Class 4 District 8. They were fourth out of 10 teams and earned an automatic team berth to Sectional 4.
However, Rebekah Geddes — a three-time all-state runner and the school record holder — opted to graduate early and won’t return for her senior season. JessicaClark, who would’ve been a senior coming off an individual state berth, moved out of state and Lexi Elmore, who placed 41st at District 8 in her freshman season, is now at West Platte.
That leaves senior twins Lauren and Lindsay Johnson and senior Erin Straubel as the top returners. Straubel was 21st at District 8 and 32nd at Sectional 4, about 12 seconds off of an individual state qualifying time, and behind Geddes’ third-place finish, Platte County missed a team state berth by 29 points, finishing sixth.
“We’ll see,” Stubbs said. “They’re a little untested right now, but I like what we’ve done so far in practice. I would assume by the end of the season by having 14 to 16 girls, the lineup could switch multiple times and that could be a good thing.”