BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – At the 116th Annual IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals, Northwestern junior Tayson Parker stood on the podium three times to lead all Howard County student-athletes. Kokomo’s Quincy Armstrong also earned a state finals medal as the local area was well represented on the state stage at the Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex at Indiana University in Bloomington.
Parker’s best effort came in the long jump, where he earned a state runners-up medal one year after placing fifth at the state finals. His jump of 23-10 was just short of state champion Thomas Pierce of Brownsburg, who had a 23-11.5 effort.
But Parker’s day was not done. He placed fourth in the 200-meter run with a time of 21.76 after clocking a 21.42 in the preliminary races. The prelim time was a Northwestern school record. His day was not complete, though, as he also earned a sixth-place medal after running 10.88 in the 100-meter dash (10.78 in the prelims). Also, for Northwestern, junior Evan Gaylor placed 24th in the shot put with a throw of 46-10.75
For Kokomo, Armstrong took home a fourth-place medal with a time of 38.61 in the 300-meter hurdles. The junior placed 12th in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.98. Kokomo senior Steven Edward earned a 13th place finish in the 100 dash with a time of 10.96. The Wildkats foursome of Chris Thomas, Noa Wainscott, Andra Nash and Edwards set a personal record with a time of 43.11 to place 18th in the 400-meter dash. Senior Julian Wallace placed 26th in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:03.84.
North Central won the boys state title with 42 points, one point more that state runners-up Pike. Northwestern placed a respectable 11th with 18 points while Kokomo was 42nd with six points.
On the girls side, Northwestern’s Joan Easter finished 20th in the long jump (16-8.25) while teammate Makala Pfefferkorn was 21st (16-7.75). Pfefferkorn also placed 25th in the 100-meter hurdles (16.35) and 26th in the 300-meter hurdles (48.5).
Former Kokomo Lady Wildkat runner Tionna Brown, the defending state champion in the 200-meter dash, placed seventh this year while running for Fort Wayne Northrop (24.58). She earned a state runners-up medal in the 100-meter dash (11.9) and an eighth-place medal as a member of the 400-meter relay team.