TARKIO, Mo. — The Platte Valley girls capped a dominant year in the 275 Conference with their third conference championship in as many seasons.
In the fall, it was Platte Valley softball with a conference title before a run to the state championship game. In basketball, an undefeated season led to a conference championship and eventually a state championship.
“I’m really happy for the girls,” Platte Valley coach Cree Beverlin said. “At the beginning, we had a lot of freshmen and sophomores, and had some stragglers that we didn’t even know if they were going to go out or not. We didn’t know what that was going to look like, but our ultimate goal was to win the conference as a team and go into the postseason, like they have done especially in the girls season this year.
“I think that is a really cool thing for those girls who have played all three sports to win the conference.”
Track and field looked to be the most difficult road to a conference title for Platte Valley without the same numbers out as the other programs enjoy. But on Tuesday in Tarkio, the Platte Valley talent won out and the team won by 27 points over second-place East Atchison.
Seniors Malia Collins and Paige West were the top-of-the-order initiators in softball. The duo set the tone at the top of the press in basketball. And on Tuesday, they helped get Platte Valley off to a fast start in the field events.
Malia Collins won the long jump with a personal-best of 4.89 meters — just over 16 feet. West finished second in the event as the duo secured Platte Valley 18 team points.
The field events continued to be strong for Platte Valley as freshman Maggie Collins — another of the team leaders in softball and basketball — won the javelin with a new conference record throw of 34.02 meters, which is nearly 112 feet. The younger Collins sister was second in the shot put and sophomore Jenna Mason was third.
Senior Blair Stoll rounded out the throwing events with a fourth-place throw in the discus while Stephanie Turpin was third in the triple jump and Brylie Angle was third in the high jump. Angle and Turpin were also key pieces of the softball and basketball teams.
Another 3-sport athlete, sophomore Kayley Hauber led Platte Valley on the track with a 100-meter dash championship. For Hauber, it was her first conference track and field crown after last season was taken away.
“We all worked really hard hard and we all put it together as a team,” Hauber said. “I’m just really happy with how we did this year.”
West continued her winning ways with a victory in the 100-meter hurdles. West and Hauber teamed with Turpin and Malia Collins to win the 4x200-meter relay as well.
“Relays are so much fun,” Hauber said. “We always pick each other up if our handoffs aren’t good and we work harder.”
On the boys’ side, Platte Valley was fifth as a team.
“Overall, I don’t have anything to be unhappy about,” Beverlin said.
Top individual performances came in the 800-meter run where Trever McQueen and Micah Wolf were second and third. Freshman Jacob Peery and junior Nicco Labryer were second and third in the 110-meter hurdles.
Platte Valley also took second in the 4x800-meter relay where Ethan Holtman, Quenton Manship, McQueen and Wolf teamed.
“They just keep getting better and it is fun to watch them,” Beverlin said.
The Rockets didn’t bring a big team to Tarkio on Tuesday, but the athletes they brought took home more than their share of hardware.
That effort was led by a familiar force with the distance runners — and more specifically, the Blay brothers. Tyler and Riley Blay finished first and second in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter runs.
Tyler Blay, a senior headed for Missouri Western, broke the conference record in both events.
“There is no one who is going to touch him,” West Nodaway coach Colton Blay said. “I think he can show up to state and roll both of them and take home two gold medals. No doubt in my mind.”
The future Griffon is in what he calls his first season of track and field. He participated as a sophomore, but was a middle-of-the-pack finisher and not a long-distance runner.
Since then, the senior has transformed his body and his athletic profile to become one of the most dominant distance runners in the state at any level.
“I’m super grateful and super happy to be a conference champion,” Tyler Blay said. “We had a great team showing too.”
Tuesday’s titles were Blay’s first two in track and field, but he has bigger goals with two more state titles to add to his Class 1 state championship in cross country from the fall. He also wants to set records while he’s there after he ran a 9:33 in the two-mile last week and the Class 1 State Championships record is a 9:36.
“It’s place or go home now,” Tyler Blay said. “Top 4 move on and we just have to keep competing and hopefully get that state record when it comes to it.”
Riley Blay also is in good position to make a run onto the state podium this season as a freshman.
Junior Dawson Fast added to the Rocket medal count by taking second in the high jump. Senior Duke Ingraham was fifth in the 800-meter run.
For the girls, the top finisher was junior Reagan Hagey, who was fifth in the 3,200-meter dash.
“She is one of my favorite athletes that I have ever worked with just because of her personality and the hard-headedness that we get,” Colton Blay said. “I wouldn’t change it for nothing.”
The Bluejays came away from Tuesday’s meet excited about what is to come for the program. With the senior trip this week, they were without some of their top scorers and team leaders, but the youth of the team stepped up.
“We had some really good surprises today,” Northeast Nodaway coach Jared Freemyer said. “We’ve had lots of PRs.”
Freshman Jill Boswell was fourth in the 200-meter dash and fifth in the 400-meter dash. Sophomore Ruby Wilmes took third in the 800-meter run.
“The girls' side is exceptional,” Freemyer said. “That is what I told them: ‘If I had 15 of you, we’d be winning track meets.’”
Freshman Delanie Auffert led the team in the field events with a fifth-place finish.
For the boys, junior Kodie Meyer was second in the 300-meter hurdles and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles.
Dual-sport athletes Ben Boswell and Colton Swalley have the week off from baseball due to senior trip, but performed well on the track. Boswell was third in the 400-meter dash and Swalley was fifth in the long jump. Levi Germann joined Boswell, Swalley and Meyer to take third in the 4x200-meter relay.
Dylan Wilmes was third in the discus while Creed Wilcox took fifth in the discus and fourth in the shot put. Dawson Vore was fourth in the javelin.
“Now that we are getting to the end of the season, it’s do or die,” Freemyer said of Saturday’s district meet. “You’ve got to compete to be in that top-4 and maybe push yourselves to where if you were normally a five or six, you can push yourself into that four and keep going on a little bit longer.”
The Mustangs have been led by their dynamic freshmen this season and that continued at the conference meet.
“It has been fun to see all the girls, and the guys even, improve all year long,” North Nodaway coach Lindsi Jackson said. “Coming in (this season) having absolutely no idea what I had and leaving with the medals that we are leaving with today has been a lot of fun.”
The highlight event of the day was the 300-meter hurdles where North Nodaway freshmen Saryn Brown and Lauren Herndon finished second and third.
“Both of them really push each other,” Jackson said.
Brown and Herndon teamed with Jacquelyn Cline and Hayleigh Vinzant to finish third in the 4x400-meter relay. Brown also took fourth in the high jump.
The top finish on the boys’ side came from junior Braden Mires, who was ninth in a loaded 3,200-meter run field.
James Herr continued his dominant season in the javelin on Tuesday with a conference championship on a throw of 46.25 meters — 151.7 feet.
“I’m really happy for him,” Nodaway-Holt coach Kellen Overstreet said. “Looking at the work we’ve been putting in in practice, it is really coming to fruition and he is really getting it figured out. He is throwing consistently and is constantly improving.”
Herr also took second in the shot put, only behind teammate Hayden Elifrits. Elifrits also won the discus.
For the Spartan girls, Reese Morris was the team’s top performer as she won the 1,600-meter run and 3,200-meter run.