If sectional meet times are any indication, Lee’s Summit West should be the team to beat.
Not so fast, according to West girls cross country coach Jesse Griffin.
Sure, West will be in the hunt for the Class 4 girls’ team championship Nov. 4 during the state cross country meet at Oak Hills Golf Course in Jefferson City. But even as solid as their times were during last weekend’s sectional meet at Camdenton, Griffin knows the Titans are just one of several good teams in a wide-open field.
Raymore-Peculiar actually may be the favorite after the Titans finished four points behind them during the Class 4, Sectional 3 meet Oct. 28 at Ha Ha Tonka State Park.
Additionally, Blue Springs South, with individual top-runner Tori Findley, is formidable along with Park Hill South, which won the sectional at Kearney, and the two sectional champs from the east side of the state, Parkway West and Washington.
“Any of those six teams, if they have a good day, could be state champions,” Griffin said. “There’s no clear-cut favorite.”
For West to have that good day and claim the title it came within four points of winning last year, Griffin said the Titans will have to continue with the pack mentality he’s been emphasizing late in the season.
Throughout most of the year, the Titans have run with individual goals in mind. Now, he wants them working with one another as a group on the course.
The new approach paid off at sectionals with a tight pack in the top 12 that helped the Titans close the gap on Ray-Pec.
Madison Hulsey placed third behind the Ray-Pec duo of Miranda Dick and Makenzie Stucker, who also went one-two at the district meet. McKenna Butler and Addie Mathis were seventh and eighth and Hailey Hardin finished 12th.
“I think we have a shot at winning, but they have to be on the same page and working together with a common goal,” Griffin said. “They have to build on the synergy that they have started to establish.”
West’s boys, who placed second in their sectional, expect to have one of the top individual contenders in Ben Burnett — a senior, who placed third overall at sectionals and second in the Class 4, District 6 race the week before.
Lee’s Summit North’s boys came within a point of being among the top four teams in the Class 4, Sectional 4 meet at Kearney.
The Broncos placed three runners — seniors Matt Reis, Drew Reis and Parker Anderson — in the top 30 who advanced to state.
North’s Madelyn Robinson, a junior, placed seventh in the girls’ race and qualified along with sophomore Annie McCord and senior Samantha Simpson.
Lee’s Summit sophomore Luke Bryan made it to state with a 23rd-place finish at Kearney.
Summit Christian Academy will be represented by senior Melody Joyce, who placed 14th in the Class 2, District 7 meet at Hermitage.