GLADSTONE, Mo. — Park Hill’s path to Suburban Conference success didn’t become easier this year.
Despite moving up and out of the Red Division and away from powerhouse Park Hill South, the Trojans ended up third in their Gold Division Championships’ debut Saturday, Feb. 4 at Gladstone Community Center. They posted six new or improved qualifying cuts for the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships while also showing they could compete in the Suburban Conference’s highest level.
“Most of them are putting up season best times and are racing the clock,” Park Hill coach Karl Haley said, “so I think we’re swimming well. It’s always good at the end of the year to swim fast and that’s what we’re doing.”
Coming off back-to-back top 15 finishes at state, Park Hill has 13 events qualified this season, including all three relays.
The 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle teams put up season-best times in the Gold Division finals, posting runner-up finishes in both events. Those 68 points helped the Trojans total 335 for the weekend behind champion Lee’s Summit West (422) and runner-up Blue Springs South (418).
Park Hill’s state times started in Friday’s preliminaries with Emma Will (1:02.60 in the 100 backstroke) and Sophia Lane (1:00.45 in the 100 butterfly) — the first state cut this year for both. Will bettered her time in the final (1:02.15) to win the event, while Lane was second out of prelims and second in the final.
Nani Welsh, qualified for state in multiple events, won the 200 individual medley (2:13.23) and the 100 breaststroke (1:09.28), setting a school record in the breaststroke. Her individual medley time was also a season-best.
Will, Lane, Welsh and sophomore Brooklynn Pierce set a school record in the 200 medley relay (1:53.75), just about a second behind Lee’s Summit West’s winning time.