Trojans break school record in Blue Springs meet

BLUE SPRINGS — In a state-level type of meet, the Park Hill boys and girls track and field teams got a chance to see where they are and where they still need to go before the season ends.

The teams competed in the Gary Parker Invitational on Thursday, April 12, at Blue Springs High School. The meet featured 20 teams from across the Kansas City metro area, as well Columbia Battle.

The Trojans came in fourth on the girls side with 72½ points, while the boys were 14th with 19½.

 Park Hill’s Taiya Shelby leaves the pack behind in the 4x200-meter relay race at the Gary Parker Invitational on Thursday, April 12, in Blue Springs, Mo. 

Park Hill’s Taiya Shelby leaves the pack behind in the 4x200-meter relay race at the Gary Parker Invitational on Thursday, April 12, in Blue Springs, Mo. 

The girls won three of the four relays, taking first in the 4x100-, 4x200- and 4x400-meter relays and set a school record in the first one.

The 4x100-meter relay team of Iyanla Roberts, Kristen Birmingham and Teresa Thomas ran 49.41 to take first and break a school record. The team entered with a seed time of 50.90, but the group of three underclassmen and Roberts — a senior — won it.

“The girls didn’t do bad at all,” Park Hill coach Rob Self said. “Now, they are the top team in the state right now in Class 5, as of this (Friday) morning.”

The 4x200-meter team of Iyanla Roberts, Teresa Thomas, Caleia Johnson and Shelby — with Johnson, a freshman, stepping up to fill a void left by an injury. The team ran 1:43.12, two seconds ahead of Lee’s Summit West.

The 4x400 team — the defending state champions — won again, staying undefeated this year. The group featured Thomas, Johnson, Shelby and Manuela Ngo Tonye Nyemeck and they ran 4:02.11, winning by four seconds.

Shelby won the 400-meter dash easily, running 56.21, nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Kaitlyn Lewis of Liberty. Shelby, a senior, added a second-place finish in the 200 dash, .08 behind Lewis.

“She left everybody behind in the 400, she beat Kaitlyn by five meters,” Self said.

Thomas was fourth in the 100 dash and Grace Fink added a fourth-place showing in the 3,200.

On the boys side, the highest finish went to sophomore Javion Gathrite, who ran 15.58 in the 110-meter hurdles. The Trojans added points in the 300-meter hurdles when Payton Stanfield placed sixth.

Freshman Jaylin Noel tied for fifth in the high jump with a leap of 6-2.

 Park Hill freshman Jaylin Noel jumped 6-feet-2 inches to tie for fifth place in the high jump event on Thursday, April 12, at the Gary Parker Invitational.

Park Hill freshman Jaylin Noel jumped 6-feet-2 inches to tie for fifth place in the high jump event on Thursday, April 12, at the Gary Parker Invitational.

Cole Gonier added a sixth-place showing in the javelin for the Trojans.

“We are being competitive, just not quite enough,” Self said of his squad.

The meet featured two superlatives on the day. Lee’s Summit’s KC Lightfoot jumped 18-3, nearly challenging the state record owned by Park Hill graduate Chris Nilsen.

Lee’s Summit West’s Makayla Kelby threw 47 feet in the shot put to win by nearly 6½ feet.

Both marks were the second best efforts this season in the United States, as announced during the competition.