JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Jackson Letcher continued to put his name in Platte County’s record books, even when he didn’t run his best race.
Making a third straight appearance in the Class 4 Missouri State Cross Country Championships, Platte County’s star junior placed 43rd on Saturday, Nov. 4 at Oak Hills Golf Center. He took a step back from a year ago when he finished 38th in a career-best time.
Letcher’s time of 16 minutes, 45.23 seconds ranks No. 5 in Platte County history for the state meet, ranking behind only Nathan Straubel (2014), Eli Klimek (2001), Brock Babcock (1998) and his own 2016 time.
“We were really pleased with how Jackson performed this year,” Platte County coach Chris Stubbs said. “He didn’t get out as well as you could have so he was fighting to move up the entire race. He was disappointed with his race, but his effort was outstanding.”
The program’s first three-time Class 4 state qualifier, Letcher placed 75th as a freshman before pushing closer to all-state as a sophomore.
A deep field ran slower overall from a year ago, and Letcher was about 20 seconds off of his 2016 pace. He continued to lead Platte County’s lineup this season, and the Pirates were fifth place this year in Class 4 District 8 — just missing a team sectional berth.
Park Hill South also experienced a down race, competing as a team for the first time since 2014. The Panthers didn’t have an all-state performer and faded to 12th out of 16 teams after finishing fourth in District 8 but third in Sectional 4 during the previous two weeks.
Eli Guzman, now a four-time qualifier, came in at 16:22.87 to lead Park Hill South, but the senior came in 26th — about 3 seconds off the final all-state spot. He posted his best time and best placement in four trips to the state meet, the first as part of the 2014 qualifying team.
David Rouse, another Park Hill South senior who made his second straight state appearance, came in just behind Guzman in 30th (16:30.63), but the Panthers didn’t have anyone else in the top 75. Ewan Frick, the third of four seniors in the top seven, placed 87th in his third appearance.
Park Hill South junior Christian Ludtke (107th) and sophomore Bret Worley (139th) rounded out the team score in their state debuts.