Park Hill honors 5 seniors signing athletic scholarships, 3 at D-I schools

BRYCE MERENESS/Citizen photo Park Hill seniors, from left: Chris Nilsen, Sean Hosford, Amanda Alexander, Hayleigh Robinson and Canten Marriott all recently committed to continue their athletic careers in college. KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill athletic director Bill Erneste addressed the crowd and jokingly brought up rent assistance before a ceremony held Monday, Nov. 23 at Park hill High School. John Erneste, his son, is a redshirt-freshman wrestler at the University of Missouri and the pipeline of wrestlers from the Trojans continuing on to wrestle for the Tigers is alive and well.

Sean Hosford and Canten Marriott both inked national letters of intent to wrestle in Columbia during the ceremony with five total making decisions to continue their athletic careers at various schools.

A part of Park Hill’s current run of three straight Class 4 team championships, Hosford and Marriott both have a chance to add to their individual titles this season.

Marriott won the 152-pound state crown last year with a 34-0 record. He is 109-21 in his career at Park Hill after a fourth-place finish at 145 as a sophomore and a third-place showing at 132 as a freshman. With last year’s state championship, Marriott became the fourth member of his family to win a title, joining father Darren (1984) and brothers Drew (2003) and Dylan (2010) — all won at Excelsior Springs.

Hosford already owns two titles after winning his bracket at 106 pounds as a freshman and 120 as a sophomore. However, he enters his senior campaign at 83-14 after missing much of his junior season with a broken leg. He moved up a pair of weight classes to 160 for the postseason last year and managed to place fourth at districts.

At state, Hosford went 1-2 but celebrated with his teammates, happy to have scored a single point toward the ninth team state title in program history.

Chris Nilsen will also continue his career at the Division I level following his breakout out track and field season in 2014.

A first-time state qualifier, Nilsen qualified and medaled in both the high jump and pole vault. He spent all season setting records in the pole vault, pushing the bar to 17 feet during the Class 5 Missouri State Track and Field Championships. That now stands as the school and state meet record, breaking the previous mark of 16-9 that Mount Vernon’s Bruce Dial set 22 years earlier.

The 11th state champion for the Trojans’ boys program, Nilsen won the event at 15-6 but continued to go higher in front of an attentive crowd. His previous best entering the season was 12-3, and he upped the school record to 15-3, 15-7 and 16-0 before his state record efforts.

Nilsen finished fourth in the high jump.

Amanda Alexander chose Culver-Stockton, an NAIA school in Canton, Mo., for her basketball career just ahead of Park Hill’s season. She served as a key member of the Trojans’ Class 5 playoff qualifier last season, which ended a 20-year drought between district titles.

Park Hill finished 21-9 after a loss to Liberty in a Class 5 sectional matchup.

Hayleigh Robinson rounded out the signing class, picking Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College to continue her softball career.