Blay

Nodaway Valley sophomore Riley Blay won the district title on Saturday in St. Joseph.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Area schools and teams were on prominent display for the Class 1 District 4 cross-country meet in St Joseph on Saturday. Runners from three area schools were able to punch their ticket to next week's state meet in Columbia. Along with individual accolades, one area school was able to qualify their team for the meet.

In the first race of the day for Class 1, Nodaway Valley sophomore Riley Blay continued his dominant season. Blay was able to cruise past the second-place runner and finish 15 seconds ahead for a District Championship.

While the performance was impressive for spectators, Blay couldn’t help but feel as though he could do better.

“I wanted to get out of the gates and hang on and keep pushing,” Blay said. “I don’t like running the hills, I just want to survive the hills and then really run down the other side, and this is a really hilly course. I didn’t race too well today, I wanted to get a little better time, so I didn’t run my best race.”

Also in the boys Class 1 race, Platte Valley had an impressive team showing, led by senior Micah Wolf. Wolf placed eighth overall, but was most excited that the Platte Valley boys team was able to walk away with a second place trophy and qualify for the state meet.

“This is the first year of us having this program,” Wolf said. “So we’re just going to come out here this year to have fun, run hard and see what we could accomplish. We’ve all PR’ed multiple times this year, and today we came out to just see what we could do. It’s fun to come out here with all these other guys, and I’ve tried to push them to do better, and they’ve really pushed me to do better. I’m proud of what they’ve done and I’m glad we were able to accomplish this the first year doing this.”

The Platte Valley boys team, consisting of Wolf, sophomore Ethan Holtman, freshman Justin Miller, sophomore Jacob Peery, and freshman Logan Peery, has been a welcome addition to the Platte Valley cross-country culture.

“The dynamic has been different this year, having boys and girls, especially when I would’ve only had one girl,” Platte Valley coach Julie McConkey said. “Adding the girls team to it has been a win/win for everyone. They’ve worked really hard, had a fun time, pushed each other super hard and they ran well today. I’m super proud of them, couldn’t be more proud. They push each other so well, they want to beat each other. They work hard, but they are also having a good time. It’s been a great atmosphere as a team, and I think that’s paid off in the running. We’re looking forward to going to state next week.”

On the girls side, Platte Valley junior Andrea Riley qualified for her second straight trip to the state meet, finishing in fourth place. While she was excited about personal achievement, she praised her teammates.

“It’s definitely nice to go back to state for the second year in a row, but I’m really proud of the boys,” Riley said. “They’ve really pushed me this season, and I feel like I’ve pushed some of them. It’s nice to have a whole team, where nobody is left behind.”

North Nodaway senior Hayleigh Vinzant also qualified for the state meet. Vinzant finished in the medals for the second year in a row, and is excited, but knows she has room to improve for the state race.

“It feels really good,” Vinzant said. “I qualified last year, and actually didn’t run as well as I wanted to today but it all worked out. I’m hoping to run better next week at the state meet.”

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