KANSAS CITY Mo. — Darrien Case might now hold a school record, but the Park Hill South senior still wants to go faster. He won the 1,600-meter run on Tuesday, March 31 in a dual against Winnetonka, finishing in 4 minutes, 25 seconds to break the previous mark.
Three days later, Case showed off his potential in another long-distance event in a dominant showing for the Panthers’ 4x800 relay in the Joe Falcon Relays held at North Kansas City District Activities Complex at Staley High School in Kansas City. He wants to set another record in the 800.
“It feels really great,” Case said of the strong start to his final season. “I was looking to do it this year from the beginning. I was just happy to do it so soon in the season. I’m going to try to keep getting under that (time). I didn’t know I could be that fast this early on. Now, I really want to get the 800 record, too.”
Case, University of Missouri-Kansas City commit, ran the opening leg of the 4x800 on Friday, April 3 and built a 50-meter cushion for Park Hill South.
Fellow senior Mitch Henderson coasted home on the anchor leg after Tristan McCoy and Isaac Frieden helped maintain the advantage. The Panthers finished in 8:39.79 to beat second-place Battle by nearly 30 full seconds (9:07.10).
Case, Henderson and Frieden were on the 4x800 team that set a school record last year with a fourth-place finish in the Class 4 Missouri State Track and Field Championships at 7:55.25.
“The kids performed really well in this type of weather,” Park Hill South boys coach Clay Lenhert said. “I’m pretty impressed with them. It’s tough to get out here and get motivated to perform at a high level in this kind of temperature and environment.”
Case also ran the anchor leg of the victorious 4x400 relay — one of three event wins for Park Hill South. Case held off a late charge from Liberty North to earn the win in 3:31.73 along with Henderson, Nylo Clarke and Frieden.
Judson Pierre provided the only individual title in the javelin — an experimental event in Missouri — with a heave of 95 feet, 10 inches.
Seth Hudson came in second in the triple jump (41-5), while Henderson took third in the high jump (5-8).
Clayton Hockensmith (second, 44.14) and Sebastian Armendariz (third, 44.50) led the way to a 300-meter hurdle relay championship, which combines the times of each team’s top three runners. Mike Regan finished fifth to round out Park Hill South’s victory in the unique event.
Every event featured in the meet went to form a team relay score with three counting times or distances combining to form a counting relay score.
Overall, Park Hill South finished fourth out of 10 teams with 69 points.
The girls fared better taking home third-place honors with 71½ points. The Panthers won the 4x400 (Maryn Burns, Jordan Hammond Emma Roth, Lexi Maddox), 4x800 (Hammond, Erin Stump, Maddox, Roth) and 4x1,600 (Erin Stump, Emma Roth, Jasmine Crawford and Maddox) relays and the high jump relay with Janae Hammond second (5-0), Sydney Minnis seventh (4-6) and Raquel Reid eighth (no height) were Park Hill South’s wins.
The 4x1,600 team set a school record in the event with a time of 23:05.
“The kids gave their best effort,” Park Hill South girls coach Andy Keefer said. “We’re having some success. It’s fun. It’s fun to do something different. If you do the same thing every time, it can get monotonous.”
Park Hill South grabbed second in the sprint medley (Erin McDaniel, Avery Miller, Marti Heitt and Reid) and distance medley (Stump, Miller, Heit and Adele Royle) relays.
Jordan Hammond (second, 300 hurdles), Burns (third, long jump) and Vanessa Crawford (third, pole vault) rounded out the top-three finishes for the Panthers. Amanda Tillman, who tied the school record for pole vault at 9-6, in the Winnetonka dual, did not record a height in the Falcon Relays.
In an event that did not garner any team points, Park Hill South won the co-ed 4x100 weight relay (Sydney Baska, Tyler Baska, Kylie DeClue and Tanner McClaran). McClaran took the anchor leg and won by 50 meters.