Platte County honored 17 seniors during a signing ceremony last Wednesday at Pirate Fieldhouse. ROSS MARTIN/PC Preps Extra

Platte County’s spring signing ceremony honors 17 college-bound seniors

Accomplished group includes 1st scholarship archer in school history, 1st 4-time state qualifier in girls golf, 3 all-state football players, more.

Platte County’s final signing ceremony of 2023-24 included 17 seniors making their athletics decisions official in front of coaches, teammates, friends, family and the community.

Platte County senior Drew Boyer

The festivities Wednesday at Pirate Fieldhouse included the first collegiate archer in school history, the first four-time state qualifier for the girls golf program, three all-state football players, a trio of all-state distance runners, two all-state wrestlers and a pair of basketball players, including the eighth member of the program’s elite 1,000-point club. Below is a look at each of the signees.

Drew Boyer, Baker, baseball

Boyer continues to splitting time with others as a starting outfielder for Platte County, which has won six straight and recently improved to 9-8 overall. The left-handed hitter also spent time pitching for the Pirates as a junior.

With a deep roster in 2022, Platte County (27-8) won 17 out of 19 in the closing stretch and earned the second state title in program history. The Pirates went one game under .500 a year ago while rebuilding the roster and seemingly have started to regain top form in recent weeks after a slow start. Many of this year’s seniors saw their first varsity action last season and were part of a second straight conference championship team. The Pirates split the 2023 Suburban Conference White Division title with Grain Valley after sharing the Blue Division crown a year earlier.

Platte County senior EmmaLyn Burnett

EmmaLyn Burnett, Indian Hills CC, wrestling

Burnett joined elite company in school history during just three years in the sport. She joined KayLyn Munn, Serina Bertram and Lilly Brower as the only state medalists in the program’s six-year history and gave them a top-six placer for a fifth straight state tournament.

After reaching the semifinals of the 125-pound bracket, Burnett lost her final three matches and placed sixth while posting a 38-12 record in her senior season. She went to state twice, going 1-2 as a junior after winning a Class 2 District 4 title. She’s just the third, along with Munn and Bertram, to achieve both multiple trips to state and an individual district championship.

Burnett broke into the lineup late in her sophomore season and nearly advanced out of the District 4 tournament. The state split the postseason into two classes starting with the 2022-23 season, and she followed last winter’s district championship with a third-place finish as a senior.

Brian Chandler, Central Methodist, baseball

Platte County senior Brian Chandler

Like Boyer, Chandler plans to attend an NAIA school in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. He broke into the starting lineup late in his junior season at third base and transitioned across the diamond to first base this spring. The biggest highlight thus far came with a walkoff single in a dramatic win over Smithville a few weeks ago when the Pirates lost a late lead only to take it right back with his game-winning hit.

With a deep roster in 2022, Platte County (27-8) won 17 out of 19 in the closing stretch and earned the second state title in program history. The Pirates went one game under .500 a year ago while rebuilding the roster and seemingly have started to regain top form in recent weeks after a slow start. Many of this year’s seniors saw their first varsity action last season and were part of a second straight conference championship team. The Pirates split the 2023 Suburban Conference White Division title with Grain Valley after sharing the Blue Division crown a year earlier.

Isabelle Cordova-Guerrero, William Woods, archery

Platte County senior Isabelle Cordova-Guerrero

The first Platte County student to receive an archery scholarship, Cordova Guerrero earned four varsity letters and collected 19 career medals in a decorated career. She owns a USA Archery Missouri State Indoor Championship plus four total silver medals — two indoor and two outdoor.

  • Other honors include:
  • USA Archery Kansas State Sunflower Games championship
  • NFAA Midwest Sectional champion
  • NFAA Midwest Sectional runnerup
  • MBH State indoor Champion (2x)
  • MBH State indoor third-place
  • MBH 450 state champion
  • MBH 450 state runnerup (2x)
  • MBH State outdoor champion
  • Kansas City Shootout champion

Connor Currence, Nebraska Wesleyan, soccer

A two-year starter, Currence played a key role in Platte County’s defensive midfield over the past two years and helped the Pirates win 51 games over the past three years. They were 62-20 during his four seasons, which included a COVID-shortened 2020.

Platte County senior Connor Currence

Platte County went 15-5 this past fall but saw a six-game winning streak come to an end in the Class 3 District 8 championship game against Kansas City East, which went on to win the state championship. The Pirates’ defense recorded six shutouts, and Currence earned All-Suburban Conference White Division and all-district honors.

In addition, Currence has continued a return from injury in track this spring looking to regain his promising form from a sophomore debut. He also started at point guard for the basketball team.

Jake Fernandez, SIU-Edwardsville, wrestling

Finishing as one of the most decorated wrestlers in program history, Fernandez capped his career with a second Class 3 state championship this past winter. He helped the Pirates finish fifth in the Class 3 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships team standings, just three points away from tying District 4 rival Kearney for fourth and a share of a team trophy.

Fernandez qualified for state all four years with individual district championships — plus a sectional title as a freshman in altered postseason format due to COVID-19 protocols. He became the 50th state champion in Platte County’s storied history with a tough 1-0 victory over McDonald County senior and defending state champion Samuel Murphy in the 220-pound final.

Platte County senior Jake Fernandez

Incidentally, Fernandez was also the 49th when he claimed the 220 title as a sophomore after beating Murphy in the semifinals and going on to another tight decision victory in the championship match.

Fernandez finished his senior season with a 42-4 record, and he passed the career 150-win mark with his victory in the Class 3 District 4 final, meaning his final total ended up being 154. He suffered a minor upset loss in the 215 state bracket as a sophomore and came back to finish third in addition to going 1-2 as a 182 qualifier as a freshman.

Now, Fernandez joins an elite list of Division I signees from Platte County that also includes 2022 graduate Eli Rocha, who started at SIU-Edwardsville but later transferred to Central Missouri.

Carmen Gentilia, Truman State, track/cross country

A four-time state qualifier in cross country, Gentilia finished her career this past fall as a state medalist, finishing eighth in the Class 4 MSHSAA Cross Country Championships and helping Platte County to a 10th-place team finish. This marked the Pirates’ best showing since coming in eighth in 2020, and she
represented the final link to that team, which started an active streak of four straight team state berths. She was one of five runners, including three seniors, who qualified as individuals that season to earn the right to post a team score — one that ended up good enough to be in the top half that year.

Platte County senior Carmen Gentilia

As a freshman, Gentilia placed 46th before injuries slowed her progress as a sophomore. She battle back to make the postseason again and posted finishes of 56th and 30th the past two years before becoming the third in program history to run a sub-19 minute time in her final state race.

Each of the past two years, Gentilia finished second in the Suburban Conference White Division Championships and helped lead Platte County to the first league title for the program since taking a Blue Division crown in 2016.

Gentilia played soccer and ran track in spring for the first 2 1/2 years of her career. She opted to focus on long distance running in the middle of her junior campaign and eventually turned in a critical final lap of the 4×800-meter relay in the Class 5 Sectional 4 meet last spring to send the Pirates to state in that event.

Platte County senior Seth Martin

Now fully focusing on track, Gentilia has posted career-bests in both the 1,600 and 3,200 this spring, and all four runners from last year’s 4×800 have returned and recently posted the third-fastest time in program history and appear set to make a push for all-state honors.

Seth Martin, Truman State, football

Martin transferred to Platte County from Northland Christian where he played quarterback and safety, but state eligibility rules limited him to just one year on varsity with the Pirates. He played a versatile role as an outside linebacker/edge rusher and totaled 43 tackles plus eight for loss, 6 1/2 pass breakups, 2 1/2 sacks and two fumbles recovered in his senior season to earn Missouri Football Coaches Association (MFCA) Class 5 all-state honors, making the third team at linebacker.

A starter in all 12 games, Martin recorded six tackles for loss vs. North Kansas City and had three tackles plus one for loss, a fumble recovery and a sack in a win over Belton.

Platte County garnered three all-state selections in a resurgent season, finishing 9-3 with a loss to Grain Valley in the Class 5 District 8 championship game and just missing a return to the playoffs. The Pirates were 5-6 in 2022.

Platte County senior Muyonta Maxwell

Muyonta Maxwell, Iowa Western CC, football

A three-year starter who received limited time as a freshman, Maxwell anchored Platte County’s offensive line the past two years as a left tackle and earned second team all-state honors this past fall. The Pirates averaged nearly 30 points per game this season and totaled 3,718 yards of offense in 12 games with sophomore quarterback Rocco Marriott throwing for 1,976 (11th best single season in program history) and sophomore running back Adam Gisler gaining 1,254 on the ground (ninth best single season in program history).

With a younger offense, Platte County relied on Maxwell’s steady presence while opening with back-to-back wins over Class 4 rivals Kearney (the eventual Class 5 state state champion) and Smithville. The Pirates then rebounded from back-to-back losses to Grain Valley and Oak Park to reel off a six-game winning streak and even after the season-ending loss were voted No. 9 in the final Class 5 Missouri media state poll.

Maxwell played a part in 35 wins over four seasons. He became the first offensive lineman from Platte County to earn all-state honors since Trey Butcher (second team, 2020). Maxwell received multiple looks from Division I programs but ultimately chose the JUCO route with hopes of achieving success that leads him to a bigger opportunity.

Platte County senior Tucker McDowell

Tucker McDowell, Truman State, football

Hampered by injuries the previous two seasons, McDowell emerged as the key piece up front for a disruptive defense that forced 29 turnovers and held opponents to 21 points or fewer in eight of 12 games. He finished 2023 with 31 tackles plus a team-high 15 for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumbles recovered, two passes defensed and an interception, which came on an option pitch against Oak Park.

A head injury suffered in a Class 5 District 8 semifinal win over Fort Osage kept McDowell out of the championship game loss to Grain Valley that ended Platte County’s season, but he eventually made the second team Class 5 all-state list on the defensive line. He had a season-high five tackles for loss in a Week 3 win over North Kansas City and two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and an interception in the Oak Park game two weeks later.

McDowell played his freshman season at Lafayette (St. Joseph) for his father Eric McDowell, now a part of Platte County’s coaching staff and a two-time MFCA all-state selection at Savannah in both Class 4A and 3A (1997 and 1998). Tucker McDowell finished his three-year career with the Pirates with six sacks, 18 tackles for loss, three fumbles recovered and two fumbles forced.

Kade Meinke, Pittsburg State, track/cross country

Platte County senior Kade Meinke

In just three years, Meinke developed into a key cog of Platte County’s state-qualifying cross country lineups in 2021, 2022 and 2023. He became one of four runners to earn all-state honors in the Class 4 MSHSAA Cross Country Championships this past fall with the Pirates posting a team score of 99 to finish second as a team and earn their first team trophy since back-to-back Class 2 showings of fourth place and third place in 2002 and 2003.

Meinke provided an immediate impact as a sophomore and then capped his career with an 11th-place finish at state, missing the top 10 by just 0.2 of a second. He ran sub-16 for the first time in his career during the final race after placing 97th at state in his state debut and 57th as a junior.

Meinke also earned all-conference honors each of his three seasons, including a career-best fourth-place showing as a junior to help Platte County win the White Division team championship.

So far this spring, Meinke has set PRs in both of his individual races — one in the 1,600 (4 minutes, 39.52 seconds) and one in the 3,200 (9 minutes, 54.08 seconds). He did not advance out of districts as a junior but hopes become a Class 5 MSHSAA Track and Field Championships qualifier in a long distance event or as part of a 4×800 relay team.

Platte County senior Sisely Mitchell

Sisely Mitchell, Rogers State, track/cross country

After giving up ice hockey and volleyball prior to her sophomore season to focus on distance running, Mitchell quickly recorded a sub-20 time in her first year of cross country — the sixth to do so in program history with Gentilia later becoming the seventh — and ultimately broke 19 minutes and then set the school record, breaking all program marks three-time all-state runner Rebekah Geddes put up from 2014-2016. Geddes did not run as a senior after graduating high school early.

Mitchell also finished top 25 at state in all three of her seasons with Platte County. After coming in 11th as a sophomore and 12th as a junior, she moved all the way up to third this past fall in 18:28.60 — the fastest state time ever for a Pirates runner and just 0.1 of a second off the school record she set two weeks earlier at conference and on the wrong side of a near-photo finish for second.

Each of the past two years, Mitchell earned the Suburban Conference White Division individual championship and helped Platte County claim the team title as a senior, the first for the program since taking a Blue Division crown in 2016.

Platte County senior Cierra Poldberg

In addition, Mitchell earned a spot on state-qualifying 4×800 team as a freshman, running the second leg for the fifth-place team in Class 4. She also went to state in Class 5 as a sophomore in both the 1,600 (16th) and 3,200 (13th). She then ran the opening leg of last year’s 4×800, which put up breakthrough performances in the district and sectional meets and then placed 13th at state.

Cierra Poldberg, Highland CC, volleyball

Poldberg moved straight into the starting lineup as a middle blocker as a senior and provided an immediate and obvious impact, before an ankle injury in the Winnetonka Invitational ultimately cut her season short. She still finished with 86 kills and 35 blocks (three solo) — ranking fourth on the team in both categories.

One of eight seniors on this year’s roster, Poldberg put up nine kills in two different matches and posted a season-high eight blocks in a win over Staley early in the season.

Platte County entered the season needing to replace three starters from a year ago and a resilient season ended just short of a third state semifinal berth in four seasons. The Pirates finished third in Class 4 in both 2020 and 2022 while losing in the Class 5 District 8 championship match in the year in between during a brief foray into the state’s highest tier for the postseason.

Platte County senior Lily Ricketts

This year’s 22-8-2 campaign ended with a five-set loss in the Class 4 quarterfinals to St. Michael the Archangel. Poldberg and the other Platte County seniors contributed to four straight 20-win seasons, part of a larger streak of seven dating to the 2017 season, plus four conference titles to make that streak five in a row overall and three playoff appearances. 

Lily Ricketts, Rockhurst, golf

Platte County took three golfers to state for a second straight season with Ricketts becoming the first four-time qualifier in program history. She earned her best placement in four tries at the Class 3 MSHSAA Golf Championships this past fall, tying for 57th out out of 92 golfers with an 89-94—183.

Ricketts went to state as part of Platte County’s Class 3 qualifying teams in 2020 and 2021 before earning an individual spot each of her final two seasons. In three previous trips, She placed 68th, 82nd and 62nd but had not posted a score lower than 98 until bettering that in both rounds as a senior.

Platte County senior Judah Vignery

The final holdover from the 2020 state team, Ricketts helped Platte County finish fifth and miss a team trophy by a single stroke as a freshman in the best overall season in program history. She went on to earn first team all-conference honors in her next three seasons — once in the Blue Division and twice in the White Division — in addition to her postseason successes.

Judah Vignery, Iowa Western CC, basketball

Vignery turned in one of the best individual seasons in Platte County history and joined an elusive club in the process. A key reserve as a sophomore, he started each of the past two seasons and finished his career with 1,045 points — a total curbed when illness forced him to miss the Pirates’ Class 5 District 8 opener against Smithville.

Platte County finished the season on a five-game losing streak and wound up with an even .500 record at 13-13.

The campaign started with promise thanks to Vignery’s obvious breakout as one of the top players in the Kansas City metro area. He scored more than 30 in three straight games spanning late November to early December and went on to average a team-high 22.9 points per game.

Opponents held Vignery to under 10 points just once and under 20 only six times in 25 games.

Platte County senior Avery Webster

Vignery added a team-high 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game while also regularly guarding the other team’s top scorer. He became just the eighth player in program history to reach 1,000 points for his career, joining David Bridger (1977), Brian Boekhout (1990), C.J. Fulk (1992), Ryan Nichols (2000), Brandon Gutshall (2001), Lorenzo Riley (2005) and Kirk Stegeman (2005).

As a junior, Vignery ranked No. 2 for Platte County in scoring last year at 14.1 points per game, while shooting 36.8% on 3-pointers (team-high 43 made). He hit 72 more as a senior

In 2021 and 2022, Platte County won a share of the Suburban Conference Blue Division titles in back-to-back 20 win seasons before slumping to an 8-18 finish in 2022-23. Vignery keyed the resurgence this winter with the Pirates going into the closing stretch with a chance to earn a split of the White Division crown after going winless in conference play a year earlier.

Avery Webster, William Jewell, softball

Collecting more than 100 hits as a four-year starter, Webster collected all-conference, all-district and all-region accolades this past fall after moving from the outfield to middle infield and helping lead Platte County to a 19-8 season. The Pirates lost in the Class 4 District 8 championship game to Kearney for a second straight year.

Platte County senior Brady Wetzel

Webster and four other seniors were a part of Platte County’s back-to-back runs to third-place Class 4 state finishes in 2020 and 2021.

As a senior, Webster hit .422 with a .500 on-base percentage. She collected a career-high 38 hits, including eight doubles, five triples and a home run, while scoring 27 runs and driving in 22.

Webster started in the outfield each of her first three seasons and made all-conference and all-district lists as a junior.

Brady Wetzel, St. Mary, basketball

With Vignery unavailable for the district first round game, Wetzel scored a career-high 11 points in his final game for Platte County. He played sparingly as a junior but earned a spot in the starting lineup as a senior, going on to average 3.9 points and 1.9 assists per game, while hitting 22 3-pointers.

Wetzel scored in double figures twice, putting up 10 in a key Suburban Conference White Division win over Grain Valley that gave Platte County a chance to earn a share of the league title. That fizzled late with back-to-back losses to Belton and Raytown, and the Pirates finished with a 13-13 record, closing the season on a five-game skid.

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