Park Hill's Glaywulu, South's Roth, Heit set records at Gary Parker Invitational

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. — Papay Glaywulu wants to make sure he shows up when it matters during his senior season.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo Park Hill senior Papay Glaywulu hits the sand during the triple jump competition in the Gary Parker Invitational on Friday, April 28 in Blue Springs, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
Park Hill senior Papay Glaywulu hits the sand during the triple jump competition in the Gary Parker Invitational on Friday, April 28 in Blue Springs, Mo.

Park Hill’s jumping standout continued to come up big, setting a new meet record for the Gary Parker Invitational in the triple jump Friday, April 28. Glaywulu entered off a record-breaking showing at the prestigious Kansas Relays the previous weekend, after topping 50 feet in the event for the first time in his career.

In the 22-team Gary Parker Invitational, Glaywulu won the event at 48-4½ — better than Deiondre Hall of Blue Springs’ previous meet record of 47-7¾ set in 2012. Glaywulu’s mark of 50-2½ at the KU Relays put him on the national leaderboard and provided further evidence he should find a way to medal in the Class 5 Missouri State Track and Field Championships for the first time since his freshman season.   

“I came in there, and I was ready mentally and physically on that day because I knew what was at stake,” Glaywulu said about his experience at the KU relays. “I just love the competition there. They always want the best out of me, and that day wasn’t any different.”

Glaywulu’s record-setting triple jump helped Park Hill finish sixth in the Gary Parker Invitational with 43 points. He didn’t compete in the long jump, but junior teammate DJ Johnson placed fourth (22-0¼), setting a personal best.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo Park Hill senior Grant Downes clears a hurdle in the 300-meter race during the Gary Parker Invitational on Friday, April 28 in Blue Springs, Mo.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
Park Hill senior Grant Downes clears a hurdle in the 300-meter race during the Gary Parker Invitational on Friday, April 28 in Blue Springs, Mo.

The versatility of those two jumpers showed in the 4x100-meter relay.

Glaywulu, Johnson, Payton Stanfield and Grant Downes finished third for the Trojans in 43.30. In previous seasons, Glaywulu focused on his two jumping events but has been a strong addition to a unique quartet showing off potential as the postseason approaches.

“I do whatever I’ve got to do for my team,” Glaywulu said. “If they want me to do a relay, it’s something I’ve got to do. I’m not selfish.”

A two-time state qualifier in hurdles, Downes has also taken to his new relay duties. In addition, he won the 110 hurdles in 14.97 and narrowly missed out on hitting one of his goals.

Downes set a personal record in the 300 hurdles, just missing his first career sub-40 time. He placed third in 40.00 flat. While continuing to chase his individual goals, he’s also enjoyed the 4x100 work.

“I think Papay and I are good in the 4x1,” Downes said. “We kind of switched positions from last year, and I think it’s good because he gets that good start and then I maintain our lead after our clean handoffs and as the anchor role.”

Park Hill South ended up 17th with just 12 points, but the 4x800 team turned in a memorable performance.

In a stacked field, the Panthers’ team of Jacob Prososki, Brendan Briody, Eli Guzman, and Christian Ludtke took first in 8:09.2, narrowly edging out Kirkwood. The Panthers’ winning time set a season-best by about 5 seconds.

Park Hill South’s 4x800 team qualified for state last year and placed 15th.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo Park Hill South junior Emma Roth runs a curve in the 1,600 on the way to a school record time.

NICK INGRAM/Citizen photo
Park Hill South junior Emma Roth runs a curve in the 1,600 on the way to a school record time.

On the girls side, Park Hill South’s distance team turned in record-setting performances to help the Panthers place seventh out of 23 teams. They recorded a win in the 800, had a second runner break the 3,200 school record and Emma Roth continued to lower her school record in the 1,600.

Park Hill South’s Jasmine Crawford, Justine Aiello, Marti Heit and Emma Roth opened the meet with a third-place finish in the 4x800 (9:46.94).

From there, Roth — a junior — started the standout individual showings in the 1,600. She set a school record for the third time this season, but after being in the 5:19 range the first two times, she lowered the number to 5:12.62 and finished second to Amber Reed of Shawnee Missouri North (Kan.).

Crawford, a senior, then set a personal best in the 800 at 2:19.69, and she outraced Webb City junior Camilla Roy for the title in the event. Heit, another junior, then set the school record in the 3,200, placing fourth in 11:35.48 to break the mark senior teammate Lexi Maddox posted a day earlier by less than a quarter of a second.

Last season, Park Hill South sent the 4x800 team to state, while Heit qualified and placed 16th in the 3,200. However, the Panthers’ record-setting group of long-distance runners have no other state bids in the previous three seasons.

“I’m really happy with our team’s progress this season, and individually, it’s been looking really good compared to other years so I’m really excited for state,” Roth said.

Park Hill ended up fourth in the final team standings with junior Taiya Shelby again leading the way.

For the second time in two meets, Shelby lost a lean at the finish line in the 400. Lee’s Summit West junior Jana Shawver won the event in 57.90 with Shelby just behind in 57.95 — a result similar to Shelby’s runner-up showing in the KU Relays a weak earlier.

Park Hill’s 4x200 of Shelby, Teresa Thomas, Jena Hahlbeck and Sephora Koudou and 4x400 of Shelby, Hahlbeck, Iyanla Roberts and Manuela Ngo Tonye Nyemeck were also second-place finishers. Shelby was fifth in the 200 at 26.6 with junior teammate Koudou right behind in sixth (26.8).