Park Hill track girls break 4x400 record at Gold Division Championships

Park Hill’s quartet of Taiya Shelby, Jena Hahlbeck, Manuela Ngo Tonye Nyemeck and Teresa Thomas broke a two-decade-old school record and showed off their postseason credentials in the Suburban Conference Gold Division Championships.

Competing in the conference’s largest tier this year, the Trojans received a late highlight Friday, May 5 in Blue Springs, Mo. from the 4x400-meter relay team in a dual with Lee’s Summit West’s team. The Titans won the event in 3 minutes, 51.07 seconds — which would’ve won last year’s Class 5 State Track and Field Championships title.

Park Hill came in at 3:54.58, now with the No. 2 time in the state. The previous school record stood at 3:55.25 since 1998.

Shelby also helped Park Hill’s 4x200 relay to a win and finished second in both of her individual events. The Trojans ended up third out of seven team with 93 points in the final standings.

Setting a season-best, Shelby was runner-up in the 200 to Lee’s Summit West’s Erin Sermons. Shelby ran 25.70 to break the 26-second mark in the event for the first time this year and just the third time in her career.

Currently, Shelby’s best 200 came as a sophomore at 25.66.

Shelby posted her best-ever time in the 400 at 56.81 but came in about a full-second back of Sermons (55.84). Shelby has not posted a 400 time higher than 58 seconds since early April but has only one win in that span.

Park Hill’s 4x200 team of Shelby, Thomas, Hahlbeck and Sephora Koudou posted a season-best 1:42.61 — the best time for the Trojans in the past decade and nearing a school record of 1:42.05 set in 1988. The group is now just off a three-decade-old record heading into this weekend’s Class 5 District 8 meet at Park Hill District Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

The final team showing for Park Hill also included help from Koudou’s personal-best 12.68 in the 100 (fourth in the Gold Division) and some solid efforts in the field. Alexandra Renau was second in the long jump (16 feet, 11¼ inches), while Ariet King (triple jump), Tessa Mussman (pole vault) and LaShunda Tupp (shot put) all posted third-place finishes for the Trojans.

Park Hill’s boys were tied for sixth out of seven teams.

Papay Glaywulu, a senior, continued to dominate the triple jump, winning the Gold Division title at 48-6. He also came in third in the long jump (22-2¾). The Trojans other top field performance came from Kolby Heinerikson, a sophomore who threw 146-1 to claim third in the javelin.

Grant Downes, another Park Hill senior, won the 110 hurdles in 14.95 — the only sub-15 second showing — but ended up fourth in the 300s despite running a 40.27, just .27 of a second off of his personal best. Glaywulu, Downes, Payton Stanfield and DJ Johnson also claimed a conference title in the 4x100, running a season-best 42.90.