Park Hill track's Glaywulu, Downes set personal bests at Rusty Hodge

Papay Glaywulu and Grant Downes turned in record-setting performances to open their season.

The senior duo helped Park Hill finish ninth in the 17-team Rusty Hodge Invitational on Friday, March 31 in Blue Springs, Mo. Glaywulu went past 49 feet for the first time in the triple jump during his standout career, and Downes set personal bests in both hurdle events.

A three-time state qualifier, Glaywulu enters the season off of recent disappointment in the Class 5 Missouri State Track and Field Championships. He last medaled in Class 4 as a freshman, and despite standout efforts each of the past two seasons, he hasn’t been at his best late in the year.

Glaywulu will likely have the state’s top distance in the triple jump all year after hitting 49-5 ¾ to win the event at the Rusty Hodge Invitational. Blue Springs’ Tre Wheaton was second at 45-3½. 

In addition, Glaywulu placed fourth in the long jump at 21-5½ — about a foot and a half off of his career best set last year.

A two-time state qualifier, Downes ended up second in both hurdle events despite his strong showings. He came in at 14.99 in the 110 hurdles (previous best of 15.29), finishing .14 of a second behind Raymore-Peculiar sophomore Christopher McKinzy. 

Lee’s Summit senior Christian Moreno ran 40.06 in the 300s, while Downes came in second at 40.54, shaving about a second and a half off his best time in the event from 2016.

Taiya Shelby led Park Hill’s girls to fifth place in the final team standings. The standout junior won the 400 (58.80) and placed third in the 200 (26.27), while also running a leg on the runner-up 4x200 team for the Trojans with Manuela Ngo Tonye Nyemeck, Jena Hahlbeck and Sephora Koudou.

Park Hill senior Ariet King also placed second in the triple jump at 34-4 — 1-2 behind winner Camryn Holloman of William Chrisman.