NEWS AND TRIBUNE
NEW ALBANY —
Thousands of coaches and athletes help make Southern Indiana sports what it is every year. Like every season, there were a select few who helped make it even greater in 2012.
Here’s a look at the top sports performers and personalities of the year:
1. Jermaine Parrish, New Albany track/basketball. Parrish blew away the field to win the 100-meter dash at the state finals in June, beating runner-up Dylan Collins of Merrillville. The junior’s time of 10.67 was .16 seconds faster than Collins. Parrish then finished second in the 200 meter, behind Lucas Wallace of Lafayette Jeff, in a blazing 21.91. Parrish has also been one of the top performing basketball players in 2012-13 as a senior guard for the Bulldogs, who are currently 4-3.
2. Aaron Daniel, Charlestown football/basketball. Daniel led the state’s best offense to an astounding 769 points during a 12-1 season that included the Pirates’ first sectional crown since 1996. The senior threw for 2,075 yards and 36 touchdowns and ran for 1,766 yards and 32 scores. Daniel is currently the basketball team’s second-leading scorer and leader in assists.
3. Zach Blankenbeker, Jeffersonville swimming. After winning four sectional titles, Blankenbeker finished second in the 500 freestyle, fourth in the 200 freestyle, and helped Jeff’s two freestyle relays teams to top-8 finishes at the state meet in Indianapolis.
4. Ben Hesen, swimming. The Jeffersonville and Indiana University grad finished fourth in the 100-yard backstroke at the Olympic trials in Omaha. In one of the fastest fields in Olympic trials history, Hesen finished just .17 seconds behind Nick Thoman for the final spot in the Olympics.
5. Joe Decker, Silver Creek baseball coach. After his wife, Stephanie, lost her leg when the couple’s house was hit by a March 2 tornado, Decker returned for the sectional at his wife’s urging. Decker helped lead the Dragons to an 8-7 win over Corydon Central and an 11-10, 8-inning victory over North Harrison for the program’s first back-to-back sectional crowns in school history.
6. Olivia Boesing, Floyd Central tennis. After helping lead the Highlanders to their 14th regional championship, Boesing reached the state semifinal as Floyd’s No. 1 singles player. Boesing beat Columbus North’s Allie Smith before falling to Leah Barnes of Fort Wayne Canterbury in the state semifinals. Boesing finished third in the state after Carmel’s Bailey Padgett was unable to perform in the state consolation match.
7. Lonnie Oldham, Jeffersonville football/baseball coach. After taking over on an interim basis, Oldham led Jeffersonville’s baseball team to a sectional championship. In the fall, he was given the baseball duties permanently, until during football season, he reportedly played ineligible players and was stripped of the job. Still on the football sidelines, Oldham guided the Red Devils to a 8-4 record and spot in the Sectional 8 championship game.
8. Darryl Baker, Jeffersonville basketball. In 2011-12, Baker helped the Red Devils reach the regional. In his first game as a senior, Baker went for 38 points and hit the game-winning shot over Evansville Bosse All-American candidate JaQuan Lyle. Baker is currently one of the state’s leading scorers as Jeff has begun 5-1.
9. T Martin, Jeffersonville swimming. As a sophomore, Martin finished fourth in the state in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle. Martin, who has posted some of the fastest times in the state in six events so far as a junior, was also on two top-8 relay teams in last season’s state finals.
10. Bailey Falkenstein, Jeff/GRC baseball. Falkenstein batted .900 — going 18-for-20 with five home runs and 18 runs batted in — as Jeff/GRC rolled to a District 5 championship. Jeff fell two wins short of the state championship, losing to eventual Little League World Series participant New Castle in nine innings.