KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Park Hill coach Rob Self likes where his teams sit after just two meets on the season. The established standouts have excelled, and some youthful additions have started to show progress.
On Friday, April 7, Park Hill’s girls finished third and the boys sixth in the Jerry Crews Invitational at North Kansas City District Activities Complex.
Park Hill junior Taiya Shelby won the 400-meter run in 58.34 seconds — just 1.3 seconds off the school record time she set last year — and came in third in the 200. She also ran on the Trojans winning 4x200 relay with Jena Hahlbeck, Manuela Ngo Tonye Nyemeck and Gigi Hopkins (1:47.91).
To close the meet, Park Hill’s 4x400 team of Shelby, Hahlbeck, Nyemeck and Iyania Roberts came in second to Liberty.
“We’re where we probably need to be for our second varsity meet of the year,” Self said. “We’ve got a lot figured out right now but are still figuring out some holes where other kids fit and stuff like that.
“The girls relay teams are going to be really good.”
In addition to Shelby and the relays, Park Hill also showed off its progress in the field.
LaShunda Tapp, a freshman, continued her solid start to the season, placing third with an effort of 36 feet, 8½ inches. She opened the year with a put of 37-4, just 3 inches away from the Trojans’ school record.
Raven Stewart, another freshman for Park Hill, place fourth at 36-4.
“Those girls have a chance to do something pretty good,” Self said.
Park Hill’s boys were sixth with Grant Downes winning a pair of events.
The senior swept the hurdle events but came in just a tick off of his personal best times set the week before in the season opener with runner-up showings. He went 15.34 in the 110s and 40.80 in the 300 hurdles.
The other two wins came in the field.
Kolby Heinerikson set a personal best in the javelin at 161-10 and continued his development in the newly established event in Missouri. A sophomore, he qualified for the Class 5 Missouri State Track and Field Championships a year ago and earned a medal with the event just an exhibition.
Papay Glaywulu, a state qualifier each of the past three seasons, won the triple jump (46-5) and placed fourth in the long jump. Downes, Glaywulu, Payton Stanfield and DJ Johnson were second in the 4x100 at 44.14 seconds.
Park Hill totaled 74 points and was just a half point out of fifth and 15 back of second Lee’s Summit North in bunched standings. Lee’s Summit West took the team title with a total of 114 points.
Despite limited opportunities to compete so far, Park Hill believes the best will come during a busy stretch upcoming, starting with the Wednesday, April 12 Darwin Rold Invitaitonal.
“It’ll be interesting on how it ends up,” Self said, “but I think if we stay healthy and everybody does better every week, we’ll be right where we want to be.”