NORTHWESTERN’S TAYSON PARKER WINS THREE REGIONAL TITLES TO LEAD HOWARD COUNTY ATHLETES TO BLOOMINGTON

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Howard County will be well represented at the upcoming IHSAA Boys and Girls Track and Field State Finals in Bloomington. Three girls and nine boys will make the trek to the campus of Indiana University, where the boys will compete on Friday and the girls on Saturday.

At the Warsaw Girls Regional, Northwestern sophomore Makala Pfefferkorn left her mark as she placed second in the 100-meter hurdles (16.11), third in the 300-meter hurdles (47.07) and third in the long jump (16-4.25). She will be joined by teammate Joan Easter, who placed second in the long jump (16-8.25).

At the Kokomo Boys Regional, the night belonged to Northwestern junior Tayson Parker and Kokomo junior Quincy Armstrong.

Parker, who finished the night as a triple winner, started the night with a thrilling win over Kokomo’s Steven Edwards in the 100-meter dash. Parker clocked a 10.7 to Edward’s 10.9 to avenge a sectional loss. Parker is seeded third on the State Finals performance list while Edwards is tenth.

Parker then won the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.79 and is seeded No. 3 for the State Finals.

His third win came at the long jump, where he leapt 23-8.25 – more than 16 inches farther than the runner-up. Parker, who placed fifth at the state meet a year ago, is the second seed at state.

Armstrong was a double winner with both wins coming in the hurdles. He won the 110-meters with a time of 14.39 and the 300-meters with a time of 38.30 – nearly two second faster than second place. Armstrong will carry the No. 1 seed into the 300 and the No. 4 seed in the 110.

Other state qualifiers were the 400-meter relay team from Kokomo (second with a time of 43.17), Western’s Brayden Cornutt in the 3,200-meter run (second at 10:51.05), Kokomo’s Julian Wallace in the 800-meter run (third at 1:56.57) and Northwestern’s Evan Gaylor in the shot put (third with a throw of 51-6.75.

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HOWARD COUNTY SQUADS SWEEP GIRLS, BOYS AND UNIFIED TRACK AND FIELD SECTIONAL TITLES

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – In the span of five days, Howard County schools hosted three IHSAA track and field sectional tournaments. When the trophies were handed out, all three remained in Howard County as Northwestern won girls sectional while Kokomo won the boys and Unified track titles.

On May 14 at the Eastern Girls Track and Field Sectional, Northwestern won its second consecutive title and third overall in convincing fashion. One year after a 50-point victory, the Lady Tigers upped the ante with a 76-point win over runners-up Western (152-76). Sophomore Makala Pfefferkorn was a quadruple winner after winning three titles as a freshman. The Northwestern speedster won the 100-meter and 300-meter hurdles, the long jump and was a member of the 3,200-meter relay.

Other Northwestern sectional champions were Joan Easter (100-meter dash), Caitlin Smith (pole vault) and the 400-meter relay team. Kokomo freshman Julynne Spidell won both long distance races (1,600 and 3,200-meters), Lady Wildkat Priscilla Franco took the 200-mete dash, Natalie Nicholson of Western won the 800-meter run and Alison Pemberton of Taylor won the high jump.

On May 17 at the Kokomo Boys Track and Field Sectional, the host Wildkats cruised to its second consecutive title and 62nd overall by topping second place Northwestern 112-79.5. Julian Wallace was a triple winner for the Wildkats with wins in the 800-meter run and a pair of relays. Steven Edwards broke the sectional record with a run of 10.74 in the 100-meter dash and Quincy Armstrong set a record with a time of 14.53 in the 110-meter hurdles before taking home the win in the 300-meter hurdles.

Northwestern junior Tayson Parker, a medalist in the 2018 long jump state finals, had a leap of 23-2.75 to defend his sectional title. He also set the sectional record with a time of 21.69 in the 200-meter preliminaries before winning the event with a finals time of 21.73. Western’s Brayden Curnutt won the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs while Asher Walden won the discus for Eastern.

On May 18 at the Western Unified Track and Field Sectional, the Kokomo Wildkats took care of business and claimed its second Unified title. The Kats score of 124 topped McCutcheon (116) and West Lafayette (101) – the top three teams earn berths in the regional. Western finished sixth.

This week, Warsaw hosts the girls track regional on May 21, the boys regional will run at Walter Cross Field on May 23 and the Unified Regional will also be at Kokomo on May 25.

Additional results and pictures from local sectional action can be found in the May 21, 2019, edition of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana.

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IU KOKOMO FALLS TO RIO GRANDE IN RIVER STATES CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

CHILLICOTHE, OHIO – In just its second year as a program, head coach Matt Howard took the Indiana University Kokomo baseball team to the brink of qualifying for the NAIA National Championship. Unfortunately, the Cougars fell to Rio Grande University 7-6 in 12 innings in the championship game of the River States Conference Tournament in Chillicothe, Ohio. The win gave the RedStorm the conference’s automatic bid to the national tourney.

The Cougars advanced to the title game after entering the tournament with the No. 3 overall seed after a 19-8 regular season conference campaign Along the way in tourney play, they knocked off Rio Grande in the opener 9-4, Point Park 7-3 in the quarterfinals and 8-4 in the semifinals of the double-elimination style bracket. But on Championship Sunday, the Cougars dropped a pair of games to Rio Grande, including the title game and a 7-5 elimination game for Rio Grande.

In the championship, Clayton Surrell scored on a one-out infield single by Michael Rodriguez in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the RedStorm the RSC title.

The Cougars looked as if they’d shrugged off any after effects of a 7-5 loss in Sunday’s first final, scoring six times in the first inning off Rio sophomore starter Caine Whitney who, ironically, tossed the final two innings of the first game to earn a save.

IUK’s big first inning included a two-run double by Dalton Clarke and a three-run, pinch-hit double by Mark Goudy.

Rio Grande slowly picked away at the lead, though, scoring once in the first, third, fifth, seventh and eighth innings before finally tying the game in the bottom of the ninth when junior Kent Reeser led off with a single, stole second and rode home on a base hit to left by junior Caden.

While the RedStorm offense was busy slowly chipping away at the deficit, the Cougar offensive attack was held in check by Rio freshman reliever Victo Feliz. Feliz, who’d thrown just 11-2/3 innings all season and walked seven batters, allowed eight hits and struck out six over eight scoreless innings of relief.

In the semifinal win against Point Park, the Cougars followed its familiar pattern in getting an early lead and holding off a comeback attempt. IU Kokomo had 12 hits with eight going for extra bases. IU Kokomo built an 8-1 lead after six innings. The Cougars scored in four of those innings with the big blow being from Austin Weiler with a grand slam in the third for a 5-1 lead. In the fifth, doubles by Caleb Matthews and Mark Goudy produced a run. Likewise in the sixth, a triple by Noah Darr (3 for 4) and a base hit by Dalton Clarke created a run.

Midway got within 8-4 with three runs, three hits and a pair of errors in the top of the eighth. IU Kokomo starter Max McKee got out of that jam to strand two and get through eight complete innings for the win. He gave up seven hits, four runs (two earned), struck out eight and walked three. Tyler Lunger pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the victory.

In the quarterfinal win over Point Park, IUK raced to a 7-0 lead over the No. 2 seed. The Cougars got a big swing off the bat by Clarke for a grand slam in the second inning. That gave IU Kokomo control at 5-0.

IU Kokomo made the most of its six hits and took advantage of a couple of Point Park errors, the latter of which allowed the other three runs besides the grand slam to score. Tavon Lindsay was 2 for 4 with two runs, and Clarke scored two runs.

That was more than enough for the IU Kokomo pitching staff, which got six innings from starter Owen Callaghan. He gave up only one hit and one unearned run, struck out four and gave up three walks. Clark Davenport, Ryan Beck, and McKee posted one inning each out of the bullpen to close the game.

Against Rio Grande in the tourney opener, the Cougars got out to a 4-1 lead with the help of Jared Heard’s two-run homer in the third inning. Although Rio Grande tied the game at four with two in the fourth and one more in the fifth, IU Kokomo’s bullpen shut the door.

The Cougars then added on in two more scoring innings to build the lead, using extra-base hits each time. In the bottom of the fifth, Noah Etchison’s triple set up Clark’s sacrifice fly for the go-ahead run. Later, Lindsay delivered a two-run double. The lead was padded to 9-4 with Weiler’s triple in the eighth, which brought home two more.

The Cougars also had several student-athletes earn post-season conference honors. Owen Callaghan (starting pitcher), Dalton Clarke (first base), Jared Heard (outfield) and Austin Weiler (designated hitter) were named to the All-RSC First Team squad while Tyler Lunder (relief pitcher), Noah Darr (outfield) and Tavon Lindsay (outfield) were named All-RSC Second Team. John Tuttle earned a spot on the Champions of Character Team.

The Cougars took home an amazing five of the nine RSC Gold Glove Team positions, including all three outfield awards: Clarke at first base, Cody Bible at shortstop, Heard in left field, Darr in right field and Lindsay in center field.

Courtesy of IU Kokomo and Rio Grande University

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