JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Nylo Clarke wanted to run angry.
After a disappointing start to the Class 5 Missouri State Track and Field Championships, Park Hill South’s speedy junior with the flowing dreadlocks pushed all the way to the finish of the 400-meter final Saturday, May 28 at Adkins Stadium. He didn’t win, but second place and a school-record 48 second flat served as a strong consolation.
But Clarke didn’t end up running angry.
“I tried to, but there’s not much anger when you can’t feel your body,” an exhausted Clarke said.
Clarke’s meet started Friday morning with a false start in the 100 preliminaries, which led to his disqualification. Next, Clarke, Jordan Bell, Ryan Rippy and Tanner Alderson appeared on the outside of a top-eight spot in the 4x200 prelims but ended up disqualified anyway after a bad final exchange.
That left Clarke with the 400 preliminaries to help turn around the day. He ended up second in his heat at 48.87 with the No. 4 qualifying time.
Rain then postponed the 4x400 preliminaries from Friday to Saturday, leaving him with two races on the final day to overcome the initial disappointment.
“After the setback, I was pretty nervous about getting out of the blocks again so I ran kind of hesitant,” Clarke said of the 400 preliminaries. “I just had to get my mind back in the right place and forget about it.”
In the 400, Clarke entered the backstretch in a tight pack behind winner Isaiah Cole of Hazelwood West. Clarke gave his customary lunge to the finish and beat Parkway North’s Jermaine Holt by 0.14 of a second for the runner-up spot.
Cole won the race in 47.21 to beat Clarke’s 48.00 by more than three quarters of a second.
That ended up being the lone highlight for Park Hill South’s boys. In the final event, the Panthers’ 4x400 team of Clarke, Rippy, Jared Hernandez and Michael Garrison entered state with the No. 7 time out of last week’s sectionals.
However, Park Hill South ended up at the back of the second and faster heat and ended up 13th overall. The Panthers’ 4x800 team of Eli Guzman, Brendan Briody, Alex Lee and Jake Prososki finished 15th in the first race of Friday.
Both the 4x400 and 4x800 returned to state for a third straight year despite retooled lineups following the graduation of all-state runners Darrien Case and Mitch Henderson.
Dymeria Guillory collected Park Hill South’s only other medal in the 100 hurdles. After setting a personal best during a runner-up finish at Sectional 4 last week, the sophomore bettered that time twice at state.
In the prelims, Guillory went 15.47 and posted the fifth best qualifying time. She ran 15.93 in Saturday’s final, which completed her late-season push with a seventh-place medal.
“I didn’t really think I would get this far,” Guillory said.
The 4x800 team of Jasmine Crawford, Marti Heit, Lexi Maddox and Emma Roth placed 13th. Heit took 16th in the 3,200, while Maryn Burns came in 15th out of 16 in the long jump preliminaries.