NOBLESVILLE SWEEPS 95TH ANNUAL KOKOMO RELAYS TEAM TITLES; NORTHWESTERN’S TAYSON PARKER WINS WALTER CROSS AWARD

Northwestern’s Tayson Parker outpaces the field to win the 100-meter dash at the 95th Annual Kokomo Relays; he also won the long jump. (SJ photo/Dean Hockney)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Despite a valiant effort by Mother Nature to wash out the Kokomo Relays for a third time in five years, hundreds of student-athletes competed in a chilly rain in the 95th edition of the “Oldest Continuous High School Track Meet in the United States.” Staged at Walter Cross Field at Kokomo High School, the show belonged to Noblesville as the Millers became the first school to sweep the boys and girls competitions in the same year.

On the boys side, Noblesville scored 119 points to capture its first Kokomo Relays title. Crown Point finished second (98), followed by Mount Vernon (97.75), Kokomo (75.5), Ben Davis (70.75), Northwestern (68), Shortridge (3) and Tri-Central (3).

The Noblesville girls won for a second consecutive year and fifth time overall by outscoring runner-up Northwestern 159-110. Mount Vernon finished third (82), followed by Kokomo (63), Warsaw (41), Lighthouse College Prep (34), Tri-Central (18) and Shortridge (6).

While the boys team title went to Noblesville, it was Northwestern’s Tayson Parker who turned heads by winning two events. The junior started off the day by winning the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.98, edging Kokomo’s Steven Edwards (11.40). He then electrified the crowd by breaking the Kokomo Relays record with a leap of 24-2.5 in the long jump. Parker placed fifth in the IHSAA state finals long jump a year ago. His efforts  earned him the boys Walter Cross Award as the Kokomo Relays most outstanding performer.

Northwestern’s Evan Gaylor also took home a championship medal by throwing 48-9.5 in the shot put. Javias Gray of Kokomo was fourth (41-10) and Northwestern’s Zeke Williams was fifth (40-7). Nick Jazwiak was third for Northwestern in the pole vault (10-3) and teammate Austin O’Neal was third in the high jump (5-8).

Kokomo’s Quincy Armstrong defended his high hurdles title with a time of 15.48. Javias Gray also claimed an individual title for Kokomo in the discus (124-3). The Kokomo boys squad of Chris Thomas, Eduardo Vazquez, Noa Wainscott and Julian Wallace won the middle distance relay. Kokomo took second in the 400-meter relay and third in the sprint shuttle hurdle relay and the spring medley relay. Julian Wallace was fourth in the 1,000-yard run (2:33.05).

In the girls competition, after finishing second a year ago, Northwestern’s Joan Easter captured the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.15. Teammate Makala Pfefferkorn took home a victory with a leap of 16-8.75 in the long jump while Easter was third. Kaylee Riese was the third individual champion for Northwestern after throwing the discus 100-07. Pfefferkorn also placed third in the hurdles.

Northwestern placed second in the medley relay, second in the shuttle hurdle relay, second in the 400-meter relay and third in the middle distance medley relay

For Kokomo, Julynne Spidell was third in the 3,200-meter run, Mackenzie Martin was third in the shot put, and the Lady Wildkat relay teams placed third in the medley relay and third in the 400-meter relay

Shelby Tyler of Noblesville was a triple-winner after taking home four wins a year ago. This time, she set a Kokomo Relays record with a leap of 5-9 in the high jump while also winning the pole vault (11-0). She was also a member of the winning middle distance relay team. She earned her second consecutive Walter Cross Award.

The Kokomo Relays are one of the most prestigious track and field events in the state. Chet Hill started the Kokomo Relays on May 2, 1925. For more on the history of the event, see the Dean’s List in this weeks edition of the Sports Journal.

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