JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — West Platte continued its upward trend in the Class 1 Missouri State Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Oak Hills Golf Center.
Winner of a state record 17 straight district titles, the Bluejays moved up from ninth in 2015 to seventh this year for their best state showing in the team standings since placing third in 2013. Max Davies, a sophomore, also became the program’s first all-state finisher since 2012.
“Our whole team, we ran really well,” said West Platte junior Andrew Cicha, who ran at state for a third straight year and finished 46th after coming in 39th as a sophomore.
Davies’ second run at state produced the desired results.
After placing 89th as a freshman in the middle of West Platte’s lineup, Davies led the Bluejays’ team finish with an 11th-place showing. He recorded a time of 17:34.23 — nearly two full minutes faster than his previous state run.
The top 25 in each class receive all-state honors. Prior to Davies, Spencer Hudson was the most recent all-state honoree for West Platte after he finished third in 2012.
West Platte freshman Phillip Pattison continued the show of talented youth on the Bluejays’ roster. He came in 40th (18:45.97), nearly 8 seconds in front of Cicha. Justin Howard, a junior, and Wyatt Kleman, a sophomore, rounded out the Bluejays’ total, finishing back-to-back in 123rd and 124th.
Connor McNair, West Platte’s lone senior in the top seven, came in 131st in his third state run, while Matik Heskin debuted and placed 145th. The Bluejays totaled 200 points and were just eight back of sixth place.
West Platte sophomore Lea Moose gave West Platte two all-state honorees, repeating as a top-25 finisher in the girls race. After debuting in 23rd as a sophomore, Moose ran about 8 seconds faster and moved up to 15th, running 21:58.73 on Saturday.
Despite her experience, Moose felt the nerves prior to the race.
“The day before the race is always fun because we get to walk the course and kind of try and plan out what we’re going to do during the race,” Moose said. “When it started getting close, I was very nervous actually at the start line, but then once we started, you just run hard.”
West Platte’s girls advanced two to state for a second consecutive year. Rachel Heili, a junior, came in 49th at 23:20.17 with her finish down from 35th a year ago.
Class 2 Missouri State Cross Country Championships
North Platte junior McKenna Fulton made history with a 55th place finish Saturday, Nov. 5 at Oak Hills Golf Center.
The first Class 2 state qualifier in program history, Fulton recorded her best time in three trips to state, previously placing 40th and 114th in two tries as a Class 1 runner. The Panthers moved up from Class 1 to Class 2 for this season.
Fulton set a personal record last week in Class 2 District 8 competition to earn a repeat berth to state as North Platte’s lone qualifier. Her state time of 22:19.28 was off last week’s pace but still more than 30 seconds faster than her run at state as a sophomore.
Despite the lowered time, the step up in competition showed in her drop from 40th in Class 1 as a sophomore to 55th as a junior in Class 2.
“I have run here before but I knew I was going to have to PR by a lot (to compete for all-state),” said Fulton, who battled a rib injury after starting her cross country season when softball season ended. “But it didn’t happen, and I tried as hard as I could.”
Fulton helped North Platte to its first team state berth in program history as a freshman in 2014 before qualifying as an individual each of the past two years as the Panthers’ lone qualifier.