JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Emma Roth and Marti Heit added a few more all-state medals to cap their Park Hill South careers.
Roth added a second- and third-place medal, while Heit took home a fifth. The duo also ran on the fifth-place 4x800-meter relay team, which helped the Panthers place 14th in the Class 5 standings at the MSHSAA Track and Field Championships held May 25-26 at Licklider Track Complex at Jefferson City High School.
The two were a part of the Class 5 2017 state champion cross country team and the distance runners both headed for Division I schools in the fall came up big in their last meet.
Roth was the runner-up in the 1,600-meter run, finishing in second to future teammate and roommate Victoria Findley of Blue Springs South. Findley cruised to the win in 4 minutes, 51.07 seconds, while Roth was the closest on behind at 5:03.91 on the race held Friday, May 25.
“For the first time at state (in this event), I’m pretty happy with the result,” she said. “I knew I wouldn’t catch her but I wanted to make sure she wouldn’t get too far ahead. I had no idea what was happening behind me.”
Roth had a two-second cushion over third place, but didn’t know what happened that after passing out after crossing the finish line and ‘seeing stars.’
The future Missouri Tiger was tested again later in the day by running in the 800 — which was ran nearly 3 hours after it was originally slated after an early morning rain shower caused a delay.
Roth ran 2:15.42 and finished third in the 800, coming in behind Park Hill’s Taiya Shelby and Lee’s Summit West’s Jana Shawver, last year’s defending champion.
Both of Roth’s finishes were new school records.
About 14 hours later, Roth and Heit ran on the 4x800-meter relay team with senior Keely Danielsen and freshman Skyelar Nelson. The team ran 9:37.91 in a race dominated by Kansas City area teams. Lee’s Summit West won, followed by Blue Springs South, Blue Springs and Ray-Pec. Park Hill South was fifth last year as well.
“I’m very pleased again,” Park Hill South girls coach Andy Keefer said. “They performed to the best of their ability. That is all we ever asked for.”
Heit ran in the 3,200-meter run later in the day and placed fifth in 11:15.88, in a race won by Findley. The top-eighth finish helped Heit earn her first individual all-state track medal.
It came during the next-to-last race of the day and temperatures in the mid 90s and the heat index on the all-weather track was 107.
“I had a couple of rough races here,” said Heit, an Oklahoma signee. “It was nice to finish my career on two strong races.”
The only other qualifiers on the girls side was the Guillory sisters. De’Jaria took 11th in the 300 hurdles, while Dymeria didn’t place after a false start in the 100 prelims.
Sophomore Chris DuPree helped set a pair of state records for the Panthers, one each day of the event, which helped his team take 17th.
DuPree ran the last leg on the 4x800-meter relay that finished in 7:53.39 and took fourth. Senior Eli Guzman, junior Christian Ludtke and sophomore Ethan Mick joined DuPree.
Mick and DuPree not only ran in the first event of the state meet on Friday, May 25, they ran the final one as well in the 4x400. Connor McCauley — who ran the first leg — and Melvin Walker joined them to run 3:24.76 to place sixth.
Last year, McCauley, Walker and DuPree were on the 4x400 team that didn’t reach the finals.
“It was my last race of my senior year and I’m blessed to be here,” said Walker, who will attend Kansas State this fall but won’t compete in any sports. “I wish we would’ve placed a little better but I’m glad I have my teammates. I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else.”
DuPree finished state with three medals, matching last year’s haul.
He was the runner-up in the 400 and his time of 47.21, would’ve set a new Class 5 record, breaking the mark set by Hazelwood West’s Isaiah Cole (47.21) in 2016.
Instead, the mark will now be held by Justin Robinson of Hazelwood West, who ran 46.93 to beat DuPree.
“It was really hard,” DuPree said after finishing the 4x400. “I was expecting to run a lot. After the first day I was praying to God and he blessed me and I persevered even though I have a lot of races. I don’t rely on physical strength a lot. Physically, I’ll be drained, but spiritually, I’m always ready.”
Park Hill South had a relay come up shy of moving onto the state finals with DuPree on it. He ran the last leg on the 4x200 with Walker, Charles Warren and Braeden Denney that finished in 1:03.73, a fifth-second behind Rockhurst, who had the final qualifying spot. The Panthers team finished 10th in the competitive prelims on Friday.
In the field events, Addison Snowball was 11th in the shot put and Benjamin Owere took 12th in the triple jump.