XC Roundup: Platte County solid at Rim Rock; South's Heit makes season debut

Nine of 14 runners set personal-best times during a positive trip to the Rim Rock Classic for Platte County.

Racing in the second tier Crimson Division, Jackson Letcher — a junior — placed 17th overall to help the Pirates finish fourth out of 46 teams in the prestigious event in Lawrence, Kan. They totaled 265 points and were just 18 back of Kearney in the standings.

Letcher finished in 17 minutes, 15.10 seconds to lead Platte County’s effort.

The next four finishers for the Pirates were bunched within 2½ seconds of each other to help solidify the team score. Keegan Cordova, a junior, headed the trio with a 53rd-place showing (17:52.10), while sophomore Evan McPhatter (56th, 17:54.00) and senior Nick Bjustrom (59th, 17:54.60) joined him in a crowded pack.

There were 330 runners total in the Crimson race.

Platte County’s girls were 12th out of 38 in the team standings behind a balanced effort. Erin Straubel, a senior, finished 37th (21:29.40), while senior Lauren Johnson (56th), freshman Taylor Giger (81st) and senior Lindsay Johnson (105th) were in the top half of the 270-runner field.

Park Hill South competed in the Gold Division — the top of three tiers.

On the girls side, Panthers senior Marti Heit made her season debut in a difficult field and finished 66th in 20:43.10. She came in less than a second behind senior teammate Keely Danielsen (20:42.80), but senior Emma Roth (10th, 19:14.40) continued to lead the lineup in the early part of the season.

Park Hill South, coming off the best season in program history, tied for 16th in the team standings but wound up 17th on tiebreaker. The Panthers had four runners in the top half of the 240-runner field.

On the boys side, Park Hill South didn’t post a team score with two of six runners unable to finish the race on a hot, muggy day. Eli Guzman (47th) and Trey Rouse (50th) — both seniors — were bunched together in the individual results.

Smithville Invitational

West Platte brought home its most individual medals since 2012 in a solid all-around showing Tuesday, Sept. 19 in Smithville, Mo.

Justin Howard (48th) and Drake Stelljes (60th) keyed a third-place showing for the Bluejays, who finished behind only Smithville and Liberty North. Max Davies (second, 18:18) and Phillip Pattison (14th) and Andy Cicha (17th) were all medalists to lead the way.

Tyler Meadows, a junior, topped North Platte’s performances, finishing in 20th to take the final medal. The Panthers were eighth out 14 schools with West Platte the only smaller school to finish in front of them.

West Platte sophomore Lexi Elmore (fifth) and freshman Sophia Rush (12th) were the top Class 1 finishers in the 66-runner field — both earning medals. North Platte senior Bailee Romaker led the Panthers in 26th place (26:13.90), but they were one runner short of posting a team score.