Straubel 2nd for Platte County XC; Elmore shines in return 'home'

Erin Straubel came to the end of the daunting switchbacks running even with St. Teresa Academy’s Addie Coppinger.

 ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County senior Erin Straubel nears the finish line in the Platte County Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 14 at Platte Ridge Park.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County senior Erin Straubel nears the finish line in the Platte County Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 14 at Platte Ridge Park.

The plan didn’t completely work out for Platte County’s lead senior in the race. She couldn’t ever put any distance on Coppinger, who won the sprint to the finish Thursday, Sept. 14 in the Platte County Invitational at Platte Ridge Park.

Straubel came in at 21 minutes, 5.9 seconds to claim second in what became a two-runner race for the individual title.

“Obviously, I wanted to win for the last time (at home),” said Straubel, a two-time Class 4 Sectional 4 qualifier. “I wanted to go out with a bang and not leave anything out on the course, and I for sure did that. I gave it my best.

“(Coppinger) got me at the end, though. It was a good race.”

For the first time in three years, Platte County ran all of its top roster, and the Pirates were second in a two-team race.

St. Teresa’s Academy totaled 23 points with three runners in the top six and all seven in the top 20. Platte County was right behind with four in the top 12 and all seven in the top 25 of a 50-runner field.

 ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo Platte County freshman Maddie Klippenstein approaches the finish line at Platte Ridge Park during the Platte County Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 14.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
Platte County freshman Maddie Klippenstein approaches the finish line at Platte Ridge Park during the Platte County Invitational on Thursday, Sept. 14.

Only five teams brought at least five runners — the minimum needed to post a score.

Platte County entered off of a win at the Oak Grove Classic the previous week and nearly made it two straight team titles. The Pirates rebooted much of their roster after some unusual offseason departures, losing one senior to early graduation and one senior and one sophomore to moves out of the district.

Maddie Klippenstein — a freshman — continued a standout start to her Platte County career, placing fifth in 21:41.6. Lauren Johnson, Taylor Giger and Lindsay Johnson gave the Pirates two seniors sandwiched around a freshman in 10th, 11th and 12th to round out the team score.

Straubel and the Johnson twins were the lone returner from last year’s top seven.

“I’m excited. There’s a lot of new faces, and we’re just going to get stronger as the season progresses,” Straubel said.

Lexi Elmore, a sophomore at West Platte, enjoyed a unique return to her “home” course.

A member of Platte County’s 2016 Class 4 Sectional 4 qualifying team, Elmore’s family moved into the West Platte district prior to this school year. Shen ended up fourth — 13 seconds in front of Klippenstein — while running with a group of her former teammates.

 ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo West Platte sophomore Lexi Elmore, left, finished fourth in the Platte County Invitational.

ROSS MARTIN/Citizen photo
West Platte sophomore Lexi Elmore, left, finished fourth in the Platte County Invitational.

 “It was fun. It was cool to see all of them,” Elmore said. “I liked being able to race with them again.”

West Platte freshman Sophia Rush placed 18th and earned a medal, but the Bluejays only had two runners in the field. So far this season, they’ve alternated between a full team and limited runners because some members of the team, including two-time Class 1 state qualifier Lea Moose, have other fall obligations to finish first.

Elmore used her familiarity with her former Platte County teammates to pace herself in another strong showing.

“That was what I was happy about coming here. I felt like I knew who to run with,” Elmore said. “It is a little difficult not to have a giant team but you get to become closer to the people you do have.”

North Platte senior Bailee Romaker was the lone representative for her team. She finished in 26th at 26:12.6.