Sisely Mitchell needed just five races to reach the top five.
On Saturday, the sophomore hockey/volleyball player turned long-distance phenom became just the fifth runner in Platte County program history to record a sub-20-minute time in another standout performance in Peculiar, Missouri. She set another personal-best at 19 minutes, 58.6 seconds in the Kansas City Classic, placing 33rd in elite field of runners from both sides of the state line.
The only four runners for Platte County to record a better team than Mitchell are school-record holder Rebekah Geddes, Jessica Clark, Ashton Stubbs and Taylor Giger. The scariest part? Mitchell will only get better given her relative inexperience.
“Sisely had a great race today. She did a great job,” Platte County first-year coach Courtland Ingram said when still unsure if Mitchell had hit the mark.
Mitchell neared the 20-minute mark a week earlier in a medal-winning performance for Platte County at the Gans Creek Classic, running up front with sophomore teammate Carmen Gentilia — the only returner from last year’s Class 4 Missouri State Cross Country Championships qualifying team. Gentilia made her season debut in that race and was then held out Saturday to limit her miles was she returns from injury.
Platte County placed 24th out of 31 full teams minus Gentilia, led by Mitchell.
“There’s a lot of people, and it’s a different type of tactical race,” Ingram said. “I think it’s really just being able to know where you’re at in space. I think they learned a lot today about where to position themselves earlier in the race.”
Platte County junior Sloan Kassen placed 162nd in 22:27.6 as the No. 2 runner for the Pirates on Saturday, just missing the PR time she set a week earlier, while freshman Lilly Kytasaari came in 170th (22.37.3), setting a personal best in just her third career race. She ran nearly 22 full seconds faster than her first appearance on the course during the Raymore-Peculiar Invitational earlier in the season.
With a retooled lineup from last year due to graduated seniors and offseason surgery for sophomore Lydia Doole, Platte County continues to run without any seniors in the top seven. The Pirates’ team score on Saturday also included sophomore Julia Greco (205th, 23:12.30) and freshman Madison Palmer (211th, 23:30.0), while sophomore Alex Beeman and freshman Annabel Beeman rounded out the top seven.
Palmer reached a personal superlative in her race, running more than a minute faster than her previous time on the course.