WESTON, Mo. — West Platte’s girls bookended the Class 1 District 8 meet with standout performances from relays.
In between, the Bluejays dealt with some individual disappointments, and ultimately, they were fourth out of 11 teams in the final standings Saturday, May 6 at Rudolph Eskridge Stadium. The list of events moving on to this week’s Class 1 Sectional 4 meet in Chillicothe, Mo. ended up narrowed, but optimism remains high.
West Platte dropped to Class 1 this year with a strong crop of returners hoping to make a big splash. The Bluejays started strong with the 4x800-meter relay team of sophomores Lea Moose and Lindsay Goodwin and juniors Rachel Heili and Sikoya Richard setting a season-best time, and the 4x400 of Goodwin, Heili, junior Ciara Davies and freshman Faith Stevens rallied late to finish third in a strong field.
The two quartets will now be a focus moving forward.
“We knew going in it would be tough, but we believed in ourselves,” Goodwin said. “We just went out and did our best, and our best was pretty good.”
The 4x800 team returned intact from last year but has ended up with limited opportunities to run together due to illness, injury and weather.
Last season, West Platte’s team came together at the end of the year and wound up setting a school record of 10 minutes, 6.37 seconds while finishing as Class 2 state runner-up. The Bluejays were just off that mark Saturday at 10:17.69 — a time well ahead of last year’s at districts.
The 4x400 team rallied late with Davies taking the baton in fifth and picking off two runners to finish in a crowded pack.
West Platte’s only other district title came from senior Sydney Oberdiek, who came off of career-best performances in both throwing events at the KCI Conference Championships earlier in the week. She approached but didn’t meet those marks, but she finished second in the shot put (37 feet, 9 inches) and then first in the discus (114-5).
A four-time all-state performer in Class 2, Oberdiek finished just 2 inches out of first in the shot put. Stevens gave West Platte another field event qualifier, tying for third in the high jump at 4-10.
The final four events to qualify for Sectional 4 competition were all fourth-place finishers.
The Bluejays will have three relays after the 4x200 team of Tori Norman, Emily Norman, Kathryn Layton and Davies snuck into the top four. Davies will compete in four events after finishing fourth in both the 200 and 400.
Last season, Davies made it to state in Class 2 in the 400.
Emily Norman recovered from prelims in the 100 hurdles to advance. She had the sixth best time going into the finals but grabbed the final qualifying spot, running 17.60.
While the girls ended up fourth, the boys impressed and wound up second in the final team standings with 84 points — just 13 back of champion South Holt.
Max Davies, a sophomore led the way with a pair of victories in long-distance events. In the 1,600, he led the way from the start after an extremely fast opening lap on a hot day, and his winning time of 4:49.79 was just 2 seconds off his personal record from this year and 6 seconds ahead of runner-up Jackson Rush from St. Joseph Christian.
“I was nervous, very nervous, this race,” said Max Davies, who advanced to Class 2 Sectional 4 last year but just missed a state berth. “It was kind of nostalgia from last year where I was in front the entire (sectional) race and then everyone just passed me in the last 100.”
Max Davies was even better in the 3,200. He beat Rush by nearly 19 full seconds and crushed his previous PR with a winning time of 10:36.54.
West Platte ended up with two sectional qualifiers in both the 1,600 and 3,200 with junior Andrew Cicha fourth in each race. Max Davies, Cicha and juniors Dylan Lock and Justin Howard were also second in the 4x800 relay to round out a strong showing for the distance runners.
The only other relay to make the sectional cut ended up being the 4x200.
Rylee Crockett, a senior, anchored West Platte to a second-place finish (1:36.25). Lock, Gavin Raney and Aidan Sullivan — all juniors rounded out the team.
Competing limited times this season, Crockett competed in four events but only advanced in two. He just missed the cut in the 400 (fifth), and the Bluejays’ 4x400 team also ended up fifth in a tight field.
Crockett set a personal-best to win the open 200. He qualified with the No. 2 time in preliminaries (24.13) and then won the final in 24.18, while still believing he has the ability to break into the 22s, especially with a his workload whittled to two shorter races this week.
“I’m just focusing on the 200; it’s not that long, not too short — perfect race, really,” Crockett said. “I told my coach, ‘I’m getting first, and if I don’t, I’m done,’ so I just went out and did it.”
West Platte’s final sectional qualifier — the only one in field events — ended up being sophomore Cole Vandel. In the triple jump, he set a personal best by nearly 2 feet, and his jump of 39-6 ended up good enough for fourth.