West Platte brought home more hardware for the school's collection on Saturday, May 4, with a pair of top two-finishes at the Class 2 District 7 meet hosted at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium in Weston.
The girls collected 165 points and easily beat Lathrop, which had 112 ½ points. On the boys side, Lathrop won with 171 points, while West Platte earned the runner-up plaque with 128 points.
The North Platte girls were fifth and the boys placed eighth.
The top four placers in each event earned a ticket to the Class 2 Sectional 4 meet on Saturday, May 11 at Lathrop High School.
West Platte finished the day with four new school records – two for the boys and two for the girls.
The 4x200-meter girls relay team of Gretchen Raney, Gracie Raney, Tori Norman and Hannah McGivern finished in 1 minute, 46.72 seconds, breaking the old mark of 1:49.24.
Gretchen Raney, Daire Stelljes, Faith Stevens and McGivern ran 50.12 seconds, breaking the mark of 51.50 set last month at the LeBlond Invitational.
The boys record both came on second-place finishes. Zach Scroggins threw 140 feet, 7 inches to break the previous mark held by Rylan Richardson, who took fourth in the event. In the 300-meter hurdles, Cole Vandel ran 41.87 to break the school record set by Karl Crockett 26 years ago. Matik Heskin was fourth in the event as well to move on to sectionals.
“I couldn't have been happier with our performance on Saturday,” West Platte girls coach Bailee Giger said. “Moving from Class 1 to Class 2 and still bringing home a district championship was a big accomplishment for our girls. Every single relay cut time and we qualified 14 events for the sectional meet. I'm so proud of how hard the kids have worked this year and how they've continued to push themselves, no matter the circumstances. I am just lucky to be a part of it.”
West Platte had plenty of first-place finishes on both teams.
The 4x800-meter relay team of Katie Tharp, Sophia Rush, Katie Groom and Lindsay Goodwin finished in 10:21.26. MiKenna Peters won both hurdles, winning the 300 in 47.90, while winning the 100-meter hurdles in 16.14 — after taking second in the preliminaries.
McGivern was the winner in the 100 dash, while Gretchen Raney was second.
The West Platte boys won the 4x800 as well to complete the sweep in that event. Heskin, Drake Stelljes, Zach Howerton and Max Davies ran 8:30.33 – 24 seconds faster than the seed time and 13 seconds ahead of the second-place team.
Davies added wins in the 800 (2:03.37), 1,600 (4:42.32) and 3,200 (10:29.41), where he won by 21 seconds.
Drake Stelljes added a first in the 400 (53.67) and Quinn O'Malley also won for the Bluejays, taking first in the long jump with a distance of 20-4.
Daire Stelljes, Ashlynne Crockett, Lea Moose and Peters were the runner-ups in the 4x400. Rush was the runner-up in both the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run — an event where Isabella Clark took third.
Daire Stelljes tied for first in the high jump but lost a tiebreaker to Mid-Buchanan's Kelsey Stout and settled for second.
Moose was the runner-up in long jump, with teammate Lexie Smither taking third. Norman (third) and Josie Raney (fourth) moved on in the 200 dash. Goodwin was third and Tharp was fourth in the 800. Moose was fourth in the javelin.
West Platte was third in the three other relays for the boys. The 4x200 team featured Drake Stelljes, Brandon James, Vandel and O'Malley. Chad Fowles, Preston Bishop, O'Malley and Vandel ran the 4x100. Drake Stelljes, Heskin, Howerton and O'Malley were on the 4x400-meter relay.
Maddie O'Neill is moving onto sectionals in all four events she competed in at districts, winning a championship in three of them.
The sophomore won the 200-meter dash in 26.33, which came after sitting in second after prelims. In the 400 dash, O'Neill ran 59.96 to win, beating teammate Haley Sampson, who finished in 1:00.60, setting a new personal record.
Both ran on the 4x400-meter team with Trinity Wrightfield and Gracie Ramsey to win in an event that featured the four best times in the state in Class 2. The Panthers finished in 4:12.78.
The 4x200-meter team of Sampson, Madison Deboard, O'Neill and Wrightfield came in behind West Platte.
Savannah Lingle took third in the 1,600 and advances to sectional.
The boys will have two advance, both in distance events.
Zach Lee moved on in the 1,600 but entered the race seeded fifth, while Tyler Davis took fourth in the 800 after being seeded ninth.
“Both ran tactical races, put up huge personal records and made it count,” North Platte coach Brendan Cary said. “Every year at districts, some things are going to go as expected and there will always be some unexpected results. Some good and some that aren't what you hoped for. We ran the whole gamut of emotions.”
“Outside of the qualifiers, I thought we had a good showing overall, with a number of underclassmen putting up performances that will set them well going into next season. Every event that we take to Lathrop on Saturday for sectionals will have a chance to get through, but in the postseason you have to be ready to compete in every race. And as it happens ever year, district Saturday also brings some sorrow, as we saw the close of the high school careers of nine of our 10 seniors. These seniors have bought into our system, done all that we have asked for and have been role models for the idea of trusting the process. They will be greatly missed, but leave a great legacy for the underclassmen to follow.”