In the first cross country meet of the season, Raymore-Peculiar’s Miranda Dick and Makenzie Stucker moved up to the front of the pack early and stayed there as they navigated the MCC-Longview course.
Consider it a sign of things to come.
Dick and Stucker are both underclassmen, but so are the rest of Ray-Pec’s girls team. But they were the same way last year, and that team ended the year with a seventh-place finish in the Class 4 state meet.
“Every one of them ran varsity for us last year so they all have some experience,” Ray-Pec cross country coach Jamin Swift said. “Even though they’re young, they’re still not rookies.”
Dick and Stucker certainly aren’t. Both medaled at state as sophomores last year, with Dick taking 15th overall and Stucker 18th. Same could be said for sophomore Marissa Dick, Miranda’s younger sister, and junior Laurana Mitchell, who also competed in last year’s state meet.
That group made up the top four in a quadrangular meet with Lee’s Summit West, Lee’s Summit North and St. Teresa’s Academy/Rockhurst Aug. 26. Miranda Dick and Stucker finished in a dead heat for first in the two-mile race 11 minutes, 58.80 seconds. Marissa Dick was eighth and Mitchell placed 12th, with sophomore Gracyn Kloth the Panthers’ No. 5 runner at 20th.
“There’s definitely a lot of potential,” Swift said. “We’re definitely a trophy-capable team on the girls side, for sure.”
Swift hopes the boys team can develop the same potential. With last year’s No. 1 runner and state medalist Tyler Musgrave graduated, Ray-Pec’s boys will also be relying on some younger runners to step up.
“It’s really tough to round out our top five because we have a very deep pack,” Swift said. “Unlike the girls team, we don’t have the front runners, but we have a deep pack of middle runners.”
Senior Nolan Dick should emerge as Ray-Pec’s No. 1 runner although he finished far back in the pack last Saturday. Sophomore Marlon Williams’ eighth-place finish led the Panthers, who also had sophomores Braden Zaner and Carson Eve and junior Jaren Jones finish in a 17-18-19 pack.
That was good enough to get Ray-Pec a tie for third with Lee’s Summit North, which like Lee’s Summit West and Rockhurst are ranked in the top 10 in the state. Ray-Pec’s girls took second to Lee’s Summit West, last year’s Class 4 state runner-up.
“It was a very good start for us,” Swift said. “We’ve got to keep the momentum going, because they can get a little distracted. Keep the momentum and we’ll do good things this year.”