ROSS MARTINSpecial to The Citizen
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — CJ Whisnant didn’t look quite right lumbering toward the finish line. The Park Hill South senior quickly disappeared into a training tent following his eighth-place showing in Saturday’s Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships 400-meter final at Dwight T. Reed Stadium. Officials couldn’t find Whisnant to present him with the corresponding medal. For good reason. Whisnant decided to receive a little treatment for the bleeding blister he developed on his left foot during the weekend. “I knew I wasn’t going to be 100 percent, no matter what I did to my foot,” Whisnant said. “They said that this track is notorious to give blisters.” A qualifier in four events, Whisnant started out the meet in promising fashion in his newest event. The accomplished 400 runner ran in South’s 3,200 relay for a second straight week, moving to the opening leg from third for state. Behind his fast start, Park Hill South led on the first lap of junior Mitchell Henderson’s second leg, and junior Darrien Case took the baton in fifth after Isaac Frieden, another junior, completed the relay’s sixth lap. Case passed up and held off Eureka to place the Panthers in fourth. The finish in 7-minutes, 55.25-seconds set another school record various groups of runners started establishing in the season’s second meet. “We were thinking if we broke our record and got all-state, which was our goal, we’d be very happy with our results,” Case said. “We were just trying to race smart and not fall too much behind.” Whisnant went on to qualify for the 400 final, but then scratched out of his 200 prelim due to the developing blister. He still ran on the 1,600 relay team, which included Carson Reid, Case and Henderson, to close the meet’s first day, but Park Hill South came in 10th overall and more than a second out of a spot in the finals. On Saturday, Whisnant tried to make the best of his final race, but started to pull up in obvious pain during the final stretch of the 400. He came in at 49.64, off of the 48.98 mark from prelims that earned the fifth seed. “Disappointed because of the blister,” Whisnant said. “Just didn’t feel that good running on it.” Park Hill junior Kenyatte Harris wrapped up the Trojans’ third medal in that same race, holding seed and placing sixth in 49.06. That added to freshman teammate Papay Glaywulu’s eighth-place finish earlier Saturday in the triple jump. He went 44-feet on his first attempt but never bettered the mark in five resulting tries, but a leap of 43-7.5 on his final try earned him the medal in a second-best-jump tiebreaker with Rockhurst senior Curtis Goldmon, who went 44-0 during the finals and held the edge on Glaywulu to that point. On the girls side, Park Hill senior Taylor Cofeild also won a tiebreaker to medal in the pole vault. She cleared 10-6 and bested Joslyn Snead of Blue Springs on criteria for the final podium finish. A few other athletes weren’t as lucky. Park Hill South senior Morgan Keesee advanced out of prelims in the shot put but didn’t medal, holding steady at ninth despite a 37-11.25 effort in the finals. Park Hill’s girls 3,200 team (Mercedes Robinson, Jillian Roepe, Brooke Bischof, Tessa Mussman) placed ninth despite finishing nearly 12 seconds off of its Sectional 4 qualifying time. Trojans junior Kyle Pudenz sat in second following the first of four laps in Saturday’s 1,600 but dropped to sixth at the 3/4 mark before falling back to an 11th-place finish, just outside of the medals.