A quirky event in the Platte County Invitational gave Reese Pickett an additional opportunity to show her diverse track and field skillset. The Pirates standout sophomore ran a key second leg in the 4×400-meter relay in the closing event Friday at Pirate Stadium, collecting a third gold medal in the process when senior Abbie Schwieder ran down Winnetonka’s anchor leg on the final lap.
Platte County’s makeshift 4×400 team finished in 4 minutes, 22.90 seconds to top Winnetonka by just .20 of a second.
Pickett also won the high jump and long jump and ran in the 100 hurdles. She’s experienced success across the board in what has been her first season due to last year’s cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so determining how many and what events she will choose for the Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships this week and the postseason remains up in the air.
“I’m just letting the coaches put me in whatever, and I’ll just do whatever they put me in,” Pickett said simply.
Platte County took first in 10 of the 19 girls events and added a victory in the co-ed 4×400 relay. The Pirates stacked that relay with seniors Haley Luna and Bryn McGehe to assure victory in the meet’s signature event, opening up the opportunity for Pickett and senior Jenna Jurgensmeyer to run the regular version of the relay along with freshman Sisely Mitchell and Schwieder.
Pickett admitted to not knowing what to expect and might have surprised herself a bit.
“That felt really good, especially since we haven’t ran that together before,” she said.
Overall, Platte County didn’t have all athletes in their best events in the five-team meet that also doubled as Senior Night, but the Pirates certainly showed the depth and high-end talent that will have them in contention for team titles the rest of the year.
Luna also came in with three gold medals, winning her best individual events in the 200 (27.60) and 400 (1:01.80) without much of challenge in addition to running her leg on the co-ed 4×400. Schwieder also stepped out of her normal events and placed third in the 200 behind Luna at 28.30, while Pirates junior Molly McBratney (1:05.70) and Mitchell (1:06.40) were third and fourth in the 400.
McGehe ran in the co-ed 4×400 for her only relay but did appear in the open 800, easily beating Lawson junior Olivia Gilliam to the line in the two-lap race. McGehe reached the Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships as a sophomore in the 800, and the Pirates have depth in the event with Jurgensmeyer and senior Aly Anderson putting up career-best times this season.
The final on-track victories for Platte County came from the 4×100 relay (Zaya Dove, Hannah And, Emma Seckinger and Meah Salzman) and senior Taylor Giger in the 3,200, which turned into a one-on-one battle with Lawson junior Landen Wilson. Giger finished in 12:44.60 and won by 22 seconds.
A persistent and sometimes heavy rain hampered the field events from start to finish.
Despite the conditions, Pickett cleared 1.50 meters in the high jump to come in just ahead of a four-way tie for second at 1.45 that included Pirates senior Olivia Minter, sophomore Madison Hoyt and freshman Matti Mauzey. In the long jump, Pickett went 5.04 meters to easily best Smithville freshman Rylee Thompson (4.78 meters).
“I feel really good going into conference,” Pickett said. “Long jump, I wasn’t planning on doing long jump this season but I started doing better in it.”
Platte County sophomore Kenzie Palmer took gold in the triple jump at 10.04 meters with Minter in second. Minter also placed third in the long jump.
No event lends itself to more uncertainty in the rain than pole vault. Schwieder and Platte County junior Maya Sullivan didn’t reach their normal heights but did put up their typical 1-2 finish in the event. Sullivan took first this time around at 2.90 meters, while Schwieder cleared 2.75 meters.
Likely to be at full strength during conference Friday at Grandview, Platte County will be a favorite to take the team title. The meet was originally scheduled for Wednesday but was pushed back due to forecasted rain.
The goals will then shift to postseason success, and while Pickett and other younger athletes are making a splash, she credits the more experienced members for having the Pirates in this position.
“We have really good seniors this year that are just helping us out and being leaders,” Pickett said.