For the second spring in a row, a member of the Park Hill 4x400-meter relay team found a new home at a Division I school.
Prior to playing a part in the Trojans winning a third straight 4x400 Class 5 title, Manuela Ngo Tonye Nyemeck inked a letter of intent to run at Missouri State.
Last year, Taiya Shelby signed with Division I Vanderbilt after the Trojans repeated as the 4x400-meter champion.
“She’s been a staple to our track team,” Park Hill coach Rob Self said. “Whether that’s performing on the track or just being a great teammate and a great all-around person. She’s been fantastic, it’s going to be hard to see her go.”
Nyemeck had a variety of offers from Division I and II schools and nearby Park also extended an offer.
She will run the 400- and 800-meter runs for the Bears and could factor into a relay team.
Her visit to Springfield sold her on becoming a Bear and an added bonus was coach Carmelita Jeter.
The fact Missouri State added Jeter to the coaching staff last year caught Nyemeck’s eye.
Jeter is a three-time Olympic medalist and holds three of the top 10 fastest women’s 100-meter dashes in the world record books. Her 10.64 showing is second all-time.
“I knew that as soon as I got there (Springfield) that she was going to take care of me and push me to become the best that I can be,” Nyemeck said.
Missouri State’s roster this spring featured Park Hill South product Jasmine Crawford and Park Hill graduate Mercedes Robinson.
Nyemeck didn’t start considering running at the collegiate level until last spring, after seeing Shelby’s recruitment. The recent Park Hill graduate figured she would just focus on earning a biology major — the first step on her goal of being a family doctor.
“But after seeing Taiya run last year and I saw the process and joy of what she went through, I said, ‘I want that too,’” said Nyemeck, a state qualifier in the 400. “So, I followed along her footsteps. She’s my role model and I look up to her a lot.”
Her versatility in events — anywhere from the 200 to 800 — gave Self plenty of options when it came to filling events.
“The spotlight has never really been about her, but she’s done enough to put herself in a position to run at Missouri State,” Self said. “Running is a pretty big deal for her. She is the type of girl we can count on to run where we needed her to She is a team player.”
Nyemeck came to the United States from Cameroon when she was 10 and is fluent in French.
Davis heads to KCC
Gavin Davis will continue playing baseball after signing with Kansas Christian College.
The recent West Platte graduate spent four years on the varsity squad, where he was an outfielder and catcher.
He will likely be a center field for KCC, which is adding a baseball program.
“They are starting new, so I figured I’d be one of the first ones there,” Davis said of inking with the Overland Park, Kan. school. “It is a good place to play at and it’s close to home.”
Davis weighed his options between baseball and football — where he was an all-state punter.
Great SW Track meeet
Track and field athletes from the Park Hill School District attended the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic in Albuquerque, N.M. from June 6-8 at the University of New Mexico.
The highest finish went to LaShunda Tapp from Park Hill. She had a throw of 42 feet, 10 ¾ inches to win the shot put event representing team Missouri. She took seventh in the discus as well.
Park Hill South’s Chris Dupree ran 46.57 in the 400-meter dash and took third in the event. Justin Robinson, also on team Missouri, ran an 18U 400-meter world record in 44.84 and it was second best ever by a high school runner.
Park Hill’s Kolby Heinerikson was the only other male athlete competing for team Missouri from the local schools. The future Nebraska Cornhusker competed in the decathlon.
Teresa Thomas of Park Hill was eighth in the 100-meter dash, ninth in the 200-meter dash and 25th in the long jump.
Caleia Johnson, also of Park Hill, took 14th in the 200 and 15th in the 400.
Schuetz honored at BC
Park Hill South product Shaefer Schuetz was selected as one of two winners of the Champion of Character at Benedictine College for the 2018-2019 school year.
The coaches and staff nominates a student-athlete and one male and female winner is selected.
The two winners — MaKenna Ketter was the other — had the best display of five core values: respect, responsibility, integrity, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
“Shaefer is not only an outstanding athlete, but he is an even better person on and off the field of competition,” Benedictine football coach Larry Wilcox said. “Shaefer is a selfless person, who looks to be involved with as many things as he can because he wants to genuinely benefit other people as much as he can.”
In addition to being a member of the football team, Shaefer has been involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Ravens Care, peer support, Uplift — a volunteer organization, Student Alumni Board and was a co-host for the 2019 Benedictine Scholarship Ball.
Schuetz helped the Ravens go 13-2 last season and a spot in the NAIA National Championship game. He was the Heart of America Athletic Conference offensive player of year.