WESTON, Mo. — As the first home meet at the new Rudolph Eskridge Stadium started, the early star toiled away outside the fence and down the hill from the multi-million-dollar facility.
West Platte senior Sydney Oberdiek — a four-time Class 2 Missouri State Track and Field Championships medalist — swept the discus and shot put during the North Platte Early Bird, held Thursday, March 23 at West Platte due to a scheduling conflict. Most of the crowd didn’t see any of her efforts, but she didn’t mind.
Even the throwing area received a modest update.
“I’m OK with it,” said Oberdiek, who easily won both throw events with efforts of 36 feet, 8¾ (shot put) and 111-5 (discus). “I’m just glad we got bleachers down here.”
West Platte enjoyed the first of four scheduled home meets this season at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium, constructed uphill from the old facility and completed last summer. The Bluejays will host the West Platte Invitational in early April before being the site of the KCI Conference Championships and Class 1 District 8 on back-to-back weekends in late April and early May.
“We’re going to have a really strong track team the next few years,” Oberdiek said, “especially with this new facility. It’s bringing in so many new people.”
Oberdiek leads a potentially memorable group of athletes looking to make a run at a state trophy after dropping down from Class 2.
While Oberdiek and the 4x800-meter relay were West Platte’s lone state medalists a year ago, the Bluejays have a host of other athletes either looking to break through to state or back with state experience. Emily Norman (100 hurdles), Rachel Heili (1,600 and 800) and Ciara Davies (200) all scored individual victories in the Thursday’s six-team meet.
Heili, who also ran on last year’s record-breaking 4x800 relay, took the mile when Northland Christian’s Carly Smith was disqualified and then led a 1-2-3 finish for the Bluejays in the 800. Lea Moose and Lindsay Goodwin — also 4x800 members — were right behind.
“Just kind of finding where we can score points in what events, and I think this meet was a great opportunity for that,” said Bailee Giger, taking over as head coach of the West Platte girls after previously serving as an assistant. “I think we have a big opportunity teamwise to make an impact in districts and beyond.”
West Platte’s boys don’t have a single individual state qualifier back but also hope to benefit from reclassification.
However, the Bluejays’ 4x800 team returns almost intact with juniors Andrew Cicha and Dylan Lock and freshman Max Davies. Lock missed out on sectional competition last year as an individual but will be an intriguing talent in multiple events this year.
Lock ran away with the 400 on Thursday, finishing in 56.62 seconds. He hopes to increase confidence throughout the year while trying to help lead a resurgence for a boys team just three years removed from finishing fourth in Class 2 in the 2014 season. The Bluejays haven’t scored a single team point since earning that state trophy.
“I was hoping to win today and get a good look for the rest of the season,” Lock said. “State’s the goal, looking to work my times down. I’m just looking to help lead the team this year, and hopefully with the other guys we have, getting some people down to state.”
Davies and Cicha finished 1-2 in the 3,200 while going 2-3 in the same order in the 1,600 on Thursday. West Platte’s other victories on the boys side came from Gavin Raney (triple jump), Cole Whalen (javelin) and Brayan Rodriguez (100 hurdles).
North Platte also competed and came away with five individual victories, three from a rebuilding boys team.
Corbin Green surprised from outside lanes to win the 100 and 200, finishing just in front of teammate Will Morse in the shorter sprint. Joseph DeMarcus and Tyler Meadows split the pole vault title after clearing 9-0 on a windy day.
North Platte junior Gracie Roach cleared 5-0 to win the high jump competition, while junior McKenna Fulton went 1:07.45 to easily outdistance West Platte’s Faith Stevens in the 400.
West Platte opened its season in the Class 1-2 meet Tuesday, March 21 in Warrensburg, Mo.
The girls ended up with three runner-up showings, while the boys had one. Moose (3,200), Heili (800) and Oberdiek (shot put) were all second for the Bluejays, while Cicha (3,200) turned in the top showing for the boys team.
Platte County’s boys sprinted and jumped to some big sweeps in a season-opening meet Tuesday, March 21 in Kearney, Mo.
Overall, the Pirates won 14 events, including all four relays, in a solid early season showing. They took at least the top two spots in six of those events.
The 100 might have been the most impressive performance with Platte County taking the top three spots (Blake Reynolds, Romarta Martin and Trey Reece), while also having two others tied for fourth (Cade McNicholas and Michael Smith). The Pirates also went 1-2 in the 200 (Matthew Phillips and Ahmaad Holt) with junior Dakota Schmidt just a tick back in fourth.
Platte County seniors Okwar Jale and Kevin Neal swept the top two spots in both the 110 and 300 hurdle events.
The long distance crew also turned in solid efforts for Platte County with seniors Jonathan Anguiano and Hunter Long the top two finishers in the 800. Pirates junior Nick Bjustrom also outsprinted Excelsior Springs freshman Michael Rebello for the win in the 3,200. Bjustrom finished in 10:32.10 with Rebello 0.1 of a second behind.
Field event winners for Platte County included senior Mac Leet (high jump, 6-2), junior Jon Watts (long jump, 20-10), Joey Barber (triple jump, 39-6) and Bryce Bearden (pole vault, 13-7). Leet also finished second to Watts in the long jump. Bearden’s pole vault set a school record, breaking the mark Mike Wade previously set in 2002.
Platte County’s girls won just three events.
In the 3,200, the Pirates swept the top three spots with freshman Lexi Elmore (12:46.30) in first followed by Lindsay Johnson and Lauren Johnson. The other two wins came in field events from Jaycie Stubbs (javelin) and Grace Lewis (pole vault). Stubbs threw 114-11 to top a quartet of throwers over 100 feet.
Keji Jale (100 hurdles) and Mycah Schmitt (800) earned runner-up finishes for Platte County.
Stubbs and Schmidt set school records for Platte County in the javelin, which was first held in Missouri last seasson. Schmidt finished sixth with a throw of 118-11.