Cross Country Runners Celebrate 20 Years of Success

Winter Sports Schedules

Weston • Platte County • Missouri


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   By Coach Mike Lowe
As you are probably aware this was the 20th year for West Platte CC.  After much research, and with consultation from previous CC coaches and assistants, we have created an article that details the top runners for both the boys and the girls over the last 20 years.

     The year was 2000. Coach Charles Yaw had made requests in prior years for West Platte to start a Cross Country program but had been denied by the administration in 98 and 99.  A new administration at West Platte (Kyle Stephenson and Stan Coulsen) supported the addition of Cross Country provided funding could be found.
Rogers Strickland volunteered to fund the program for three years. The school board  debated the idea and approved it. Coach Yaw was named coach and so began the storied cross country program at West Platte.
After ten years Coach Yaw retired and passed the program to Mike Lowe. Twenty years later, that decision has yielded four state championships on the boys’ side and one for the girls as well as 11 other state team trophies, 23 combined district titles and over 25 individual all state runners.

     As the cross country program recognizes its 20th anniversary, it seemed only fitting to consider the makeup of an all time team for both boys and girls.  This was no easy task as West Platte has seen its fair share of great runners over the years.
Coach Mike Lowe, along with former coach Charles Yaw, went back through the years, and runners, and their times and accomplishments to identify a seven runner team for both squads, as well as honorable mention runners. 
Focus was placed on all-state performances, with leadership and times also considered. The desire here was to recognize and honor those great runners who have made the West Platte Cross Country program one of the dominant programs in small class schools in northwest Missouri
Daniel Moore 
   Leading the boys team is Daniel Moore. Daniel was a member of the original West Platte team and ran for the Jays from 2000-2003.  He is WP’s only individual state champion (2003), and a two time district champion, while leading the team to three straight state championships from 2001-2003.   He is still close to the program and tries to return each pre-season to meet the new runners.
Joining Daniel on the team are six other very talented runners.  Zach Layton, Spencer Hudson, Dirk Hudson, Will Wilson, Max Davies and Phillip Pattison. 
Zach Layton moved to the West Platte district as a sophomore and immediately had an impact on the program.  Zach led the team to three consecutive top 4 finishes at state with he himself earning all-state three years in a row finishing as high as 2nd place as a junior.  He was also a two time district champion
Spencer Hudson joined the program in 2009 as a freshman and finished his career in 2012 with a state championship ring and two all-state performances.  Spencer finished his career holding the school record time on the state course and still can claim the overall best time ever run by a WP runner at 16:26. 
Spencer was more than just a runner; he was a great team leader. He drove his teammates to work as hard as he did and basically willed them to the state title in 2012.   His best finish at state was 3rd as a senior.
Spencer’s brother Dirk was was already an all-state runner, and two time district champ, when Spencer joined the team, with Dirk having finished 18th at state as a sophomore and 14th as a junior   Dirk was a consistent under 18:00 runner as a junior and senior teaming with another runner on our list,
Will Wilson, to lead the squad to a 2nd place finish as a junior, then a 4th place finish as a senior in 2009 when he finished 5th overall.  His best time of 17:08 still ranks him fourth in the team’s history. Dirk was a leader by example, and his work ethic propelled other team members to better themselves.
Will Wilson is the third member of those mid-2000 teams to be on our list.  Will is a three time all-state runner finishing as high as 12th in 2008. Sometimes Will got lost having run with Zach Layton as a freshman and sophomore, then having to share the spotlight with Dirk Hudson as an upperclassman.  But anyone who watched the team run in those years knew that if Will was not the heart of the team he was the soul leaving it all out there on the course each time he ran. Will’s best time of 17:35 places him 6th on the all-time individual list.
Max Davies was the next multiple all-state runner after Spencer Hudson.  He led the team to four top 10 finishes at state, personally achieving top 25 (all-state status) three times with his best finish being 3rd place both as a junior and senior.  He holds the school record for the best time on the state course finishing in 16:52 as a junior and that time ranks him 3rd overall in West Platte team history. Max also joined a select group by being a two time district champion and a two time conference champion.
The 7th runner on the team is Phillip Pattison.  Phillip was an all-state runner three times with his best finish 18th in class 1 and 21st in class 2.  In addition, he is an individual conference and district champion. His best time of 16:54 was run on the new state course and is two seconds off the WP state course record.  Not only was Phillip a great runner, leaving it all on the course each time he ran, he was a great teammate and leader, constantly leading both vocally and by example.

     Honorable mention goes to some other high quality runners.  Joe Esther and Chris Kauffman are both two time all-state performers and were members of the first two state championship teams.  Joe’s best time was 17:54, good for 11th all time on the West Platte list, with a 6th place finish at state being a key to the team’s victory in 2001.  Chris ran 18:04 for his best time and had a 12th place finish at state to also key that 2001 championship. Keaton Johnson was the second runner on the team from 2011-2013 helping them to a state championship and two third place finishes.  His best performance was 17:52 and his 19th place finish at state helped propel the team onto the 2012 title. Mike Norman was the third runner on the great 2001 team that is one of the lowest point scorers in state history.  Kody Clemans transferred to WP as a Junior and was the number two runner, finishing 13th at state as a Sr., on one of the best teams in our history even though they finished 2nd.  Thomas Gillis was the number two runner on a State Champion team. Luke Stir was all state as a sophomore on a 4th place team (that had a chance to win but their fifth runner had to drop out due to illness).  And no history of West Platte CC would be complete without mentioning Travis Yocum.  Travis helped the team to state titles in 2001 and 2002. He finished 15th at state in 2001 but his real defining moment was in 2002 as he basically crawled across the state finish line to finish 33rd and clinch West Platte’s 2nd straight title.

    An all-time girls team was also difficult to pick.  Though there have been fewer girls teams in school history, the quality is no less than the boys.  Any all-time girls team has to start with Cecily Waddell who owns the top finish by a West Platte girl at state (3rd).  She holds the top time run by a West Platte girl (20:29) and also held the state course record at 21:33 until it was broken by Lexi Elmore in 2017.  Cecily was a two time all-state runner and was all-district three times. She went on to have a very successful career as a runner at Morningside University.
Cecily leads a top notch squad of girl runners.  They include Annie Kacirek, Tessa Gillis, Lea Moose, Lindsay Goodwin, Lexi Elmore, and Sophia Rush.  Annie was the linchpin for teams that finished third at state in 2006 and fourth in 2007. She placed 9th at state as a junior in 2006 and has a best time of 21:38 putting her in the top five all-time for the ladies squad.  She was a great competitor and leader for some of the best girl teams West Platte has had.
 Tessa Gillis is a member of a great running family.  Her older sister and brother were also all-state runners in their own right.  Tessa was a major contributor to the great girls teams of 2006 and 2007. She finished 20th at state in 2006 and her 21:41 time ranks in the top six all time.  Her best attribute was her consistency as she ran in the 22’s all but twice as sophomore and saved her best for the state races. She was a winner on a team of winners.
     The rest of the girls on this all-time team all were part of the first state championship in any girls’ sport in West Platte history, the 2017 CC team.  The team was led by a transfer from Platte City, Lexi Elmore. Lexi had a great season as a freshman at PC, and brought large expectations with her to WP.  She more than delivered. As a sophomore in 2017, Lexi set the state course record for West Platte, running the course in 21:25. She also ran her PR of 20:50 that season to rank 2nd all time on the West Platte list.  She is a two time all -state runner with her best finish being 10th in 2017. She has been all-district three times and proved to be the link between the upperclassmen and the then freshman that combined to create that championship 2017 team.
Lea Moose was the third member of her family to run CC.  Her brother Logan was part of the 2012 state team and her sister ran for two seasons as well.  Lea was the first West Platte girl to be on the podium at state four times, twice as an all-state runner, and twice with the whole team.  As a freshman, Lea finished 22nd and she returned as a sophomore to finish 15th, setting her PR of 21:58 in the process. Lea was the 5th runner on the girls State Championship team in 2017 and ran 6th for the Jays on the 2018 third place team.  She was a four time all-district runner, but more than that, she teamed with Rachel Heili to really keep the girls team alive from 2014-16.

     Lindsay Goodwin only ran for the Blue Jays for two seasons, but she made the most of her time finishing her career as a two time all-state runner.  Lindsay finished 19th at state in 2017, running second on the state championship team, while setting her PR at 22:05. As a senior Lindsay ran third on the girls 3rd place squad, finishing 24th in a time of 22:50.  Lindsay was all-conference once and all-district twice in her career. The great thing about Lindsay is that she was convinced to run CC by the rest of the girls after she joined them in practice one afternoon as a sophomore and realized that she could run with them.  The rest is history.
     The last girl on the team is Sophia Rush.  Sophia has had a great career at West Platte already and has one year left to run for more gold.  Sophia finished 28th at state as a freshman, helping to clinch the girls state championship and then came back as a sophomore and finished 7th at the state meet, the highest girl placement since Cecily Waddell was 3rd in 2009.  Her career best time of 21:16 is the fifth best time in the last 13 years and her state time of 21:44 ranks as the third best time ran on the state course over the 20 year history of West Platte. Sophia will go into next year as a favorite to be a top ten finisher in the district and, potentially, West Platte’s first female all-state runner in Class 2.
     Honorable mention goes to some great student athletes on the girls’ side.  Caitlin Brady was a super runner for West Platte from 2005-2007. She ran 19th at state as a senior in 21:48 and had her PR of 21:21 the week before at the district meet to help send that 2007 team to state.    Devin McConnell was a solid 23 minute runner for the Blue Jays on those sam
e teams  from 2006-07.  Her best time was 22:11 as a senior.  Erin McCaffery was the first female to run for West Platte thus setting the stage for all future ladies.  She was all-state as a sophomore in 2000 finishing 22nd in 21:57. Erin was all district as a junior and finished 44th at state.   Talia Gillis was lead runner on the first girl’s district champion back in 2002 and ran 19th at state.  Emily Pattison (aunt of Phillip Pattison) and Coral Nelson lead their team to a 4th place finish in 2003 finishing 24th and 25th at state respectively.   Rachel Heili also has to be part of

 Girls Basketball
(Varisty, JV, Freshmen)
12/3     Orrick     5:00 pm
12/5     @ North Andrew     4:00 pm
12/6     Midway     5:00 pm
12/9-14     KCI Tournament (Varsity)
12/16     @ Lutheran (Kansas City)     4:30 pm
12/19     Hogan Prep Academy Charter     5:00 pm
12/20     @ Mid-Buchanan     4:00 pm
1/9     South Holt     5:00 pm
1/10     @ Lawson     5:00 pm
1/13-18     Lawson Invitational Tournament
1/22-25     West Platte 9-10 Tournament
1/23     @ Lathrop Varsity    6:00 pm
1/24     Lathrop JV     6:00 pm
1/27-2/1     NP Varsity Tournament
2/3     Troy High School     5:00 pm
2/4     Bishop LeBlond     5:00 pm
2/7     East Buchanan     
2/10     @ DeKalb     4:30 pm
2/11     Plattsburg     4:30 pm
2/14     North Platte     5:00 pm
2/18     @ Penney     5:30 pm

Boys Basketball
(Varisty, JV, Freshmen)
11/25     @ Bishop LeBlond V, JV, F    5:00 pm
12/3     Orrick     5:00 pm
12/5     @ North Andrew     5:00 pm
12/6     Midway     5:00 pm
12/9-14     KCI Tournament (Varsity)
12/16     @ Lutheran (Kansas City)     5:30 pm
12/18-21     Mid-Buchanan JV Tournament
12/20     @ Mid-Buchanan V, JV, F    5:00 pm
1/7     Northland Christian     5:00 pm
1/9     South Holt     5:00 pm
1/10     @ Lawson V, JV, F    4:30 pm
1/13-18     Lawson Inv(Varsity)Basketball Tournament
1/22-25     WP 9-10 Invitational
1/23     @ Lathrop (Varsity)     7:30 pm
1/24     Lathrop Freshmen & Junior Varsity    5:00
1/27-2/1     NP Varsity Tournament
2/3     Troy High School     5:00 pm
2/7     East Buchanan     
2/10     @ DeKalb     5:30 pm
2/11     Plattsburg V, JV, F    4:30 pm
2/14     North Platte V, JV, F    4:30 pm
2/18     @ Penney V, JV, F    4:45 pm

12/3     Lone Jack Meet
12/7     Lone Jack Kick Off Classic
12/9     North Andrew Tri
12/12     West Platte Tri #2
 » 12/12     Pembroke Hill     
 » 12/12     St. Michael the Archangel     
12/14     Polo Duals Tournament
12/20-21     The Battle at the Katy Trail-Wrestling Tourny
1/11     Mid-Buchanan Tournament
1/14     KCI Round 1 / Lathrop, Lawson, W. Platte @             Penney
1/16     Maysville Quad
 » 1/16     Albany     
 » 1/16     Maysville     
 » 1/16     Stanberry     
1/18     Sam Martin Invitational (Boys)
1/21     KCI Night #2 @ Plattsburg
1/28     KCI night #3 at Lathrop
2/1     West Platte Invitational
2/4     St. Pius Tri
2/4     St. Pius X (Kansas City)