By GREG MENGELT
NEW ALBANY —
Last year as a junior, New Albany’s Jermaine Parrish won the 100-meter dash state championship.
Next year, Parrish will run at the University of Louisville.
In between, there’s still his senior track and field season — and Parrish wants to add to his legacy at New Albany.
After easily winning sectional and regional titles in the 100 and 200, Parrish blew by the state field to win the 100 in a winning time of 10.67 seconds last year.
Lafayette Jeff’s Lucas Wallace then kept Parrish .21 seconds short of pulling off the sprinting double in the 200.
Later this spring, Parrish hopes to become the first sprinter since Nick Stoner of Center Grove in 2011 to win both sprinting events.
“I want to go back and try to win the 100 again, of course. But I really want to win the 200,” Parrish said. “A lot of people gave me some stuff, like how can you win the 100 and not the 200? I just hope to get to state in both events first, then we’ll see from there.”
“He’s pretty focused,” New Albany coach Dennis Scott said. “He wants to repeat, that’s for sure.”
In order to win the 200, Parrish will presumably have to beat Wallace, who also is a senior. He’ll also apparently have competition in the Hoosier Hills Conference and the Bloomington North Regional from Jeffersonville’s Tyrell Dowdell, who edged Parrish in the 200 at last Saturday’s Jeffersonville Inferno Invitational.
“It’s early in the season and he’s about the same place he was in last year at this point,” Scott said. “I think he’s at least at the same level, if not better.”
Despite being one of the state’s top sprinters, Parrish knows there are areas in which he can improve.
“I want to come out faster out of my blocks this year,” Parrish critiqued. “Last year, I was kind of struggling toward the end. Hopefully this year, I can get stronger at that, so my times can go down.”
Next year, Parrish will join the Louisville track program, where he’s looking forward to improving — even if he has to start at the bottom.
“It’s going to be fun next year at the University of Louisville,” Parrish said. “I’m sure I’ll find out that I’m not as fast as I think I am, but I’m kind of excited. They’re going to help me out next year get stronger, so I can compete in the Big East.”
While Parrish, high jumper Javen Reeves and distance runner Drew Hirsch will likely compete for individual sectional championships, with 18 freshmen and seven sophomores, the Bulldogs are likely too young to compete for the team title.
The mantle of Corydon Central Sectional favorites belongs to defending champion Floyd Central.
Floyd graduated four state finalists and won’t have as many sectional and regional contenders in 2013. But the Highlanders’ depth clearly makes them the sectional favorites.
Floyd Central’s Codie Hamsley was the runner-up in the state in the discus a year ago and should get back to state in both throwing events. At last Saturday’s Inferno, the Highlanders scored in every event but one. They have as many as 14 athletes — along with all three relays — who can score at sectional.
Providence finished fifth at last year’s Corydon Sectional and returns a lot of talent, including defending 110 high hurdle sectional champion Owen Mattingly and Murphy Sheets, who is one of the area’s top distance runners.
After a historic cross country season, Borden will probably have the top distance crew in sectional.
Between Brian Eurton, Nathen Magallanes, George and Gavin Tipker and freshman Julien Magallanes, Borden should dominate the middle distance and distance events, including the 3,200 relay, all season.
Thrower Brett Williams and defending sectional pole vault champion Michael Lynch should also help Borden’s cause and should put the Braves in good position in the Southern Athletic Conference, as well.
“We would like to win conference again and have individual boys and relays win sectional in their events,” Borden coach Liz Carmony said. “We would also like to shoot to have some boys to advance to state. They have a lot of expectations for themselves. The 3,200 relay team did not advance last year in that event, so that is their goal this year.”
Christian Brown made it to regional in the long jump and newcomer Marquise Parrish — cousin of Jermaine — has shown promise as a sprinter at Clarksville. The Generals should have a strong 400 relay team with Josh Grady, Alex Clark and Nate Knight also returning. Jake Matthews also gives Clarksville one of the area’s top throwers.
The host Red Devils are the favorites again to win the Jeffersonville Sectional for a state-record 41st straight time.
That is largely thanks to Dowdell, who has become one of the state’s best and most diverse athletes. The Indiana State signee finished fifth in the 400 last year and has added the 200 to his repertoire this year.
Long jump state finalist Chase Scott, who also is a sprinter, jumper Guy Oliver, hurdler and pole vaulter Matt Wiggins, distance runner Oscar DeLeon and thrower Nash Rivers give the Red Devils several opportunities to win sectional and regional titles.
“Our goal is to win the HHC and sectional — and a regional championship is not unthinkable,” Jeff coach Mark Felix said. “We lack depth this season, but we have some quality athletes in most areas.”
If anyone is going to upset the Red Devils, it may be Silver Creek. Led by News and Tribune Cross Country Runner of the Year Isaak Haas and Drew Roberts, the Dragons could dominate the distance and middle distance events at the sectional and they also return quality sprinters and hurdlers.
Throw in a quality freshman class and Silver Creek could be competitive with Jeff and Madison in the sectional.
“We are looking forward to this spring with our boys’ track team,” Dragons’ coach Darrell Kingery said. “We look forward to an outstanding season if we can stay away from injuries. [The Mid-Southern] Conference should be up for grabs this year, and we hope to be in the hunt for the No. 1 spot. Our sectional has been won by Jeff for a long time, so for anyone to beat them would be just short of a miracle. We were in the top three last year and should remain if everything goes to plan.”
Henryville is coming off a seventh-place finish in last year’s sectional and returns several key pieces, led by regional qualifier Jacob Hedrick. Hedrick will lead the Hornet distance runners, while Alex White and Taylor Green give Henryville strong throwers. Pole vaulter and middle distance runner Zach Know also returns for a team that figures to be in the SAC mix.
“Our team goals are the same each year — we want to be competitive at all meets and events and always compete for a conference championship,” Hornets coach Kyle Lewis said.
Charlestown has a strong mix of returning athletes and newcomers. Josh Hurley and Salih Soodoo give the Pirates one of the area’s top sprinting pairs. With the addition of freshman Syd Gieseking, Charlestown should have a strong 400 relay team.
Thrower Desmond Wiley and hurdler Eli Daniel also return for the Pirates, who hope to improve from last year’s eighth-place finish in the sectional.
“We need to find some points in the distance events, as well as some field events, in order to compete in conference and sectional meets,” Charlestown coach Jason Hawkins said.
Adan Diaz and Ian Hughes give New Washington two of the area’s best athletes, and they’ll be joined by eight newcomers that hope to the Mustangs move up the SAC and sectional ladder.
Diaz should be competitive in the conference and at sectional in the hurdles and distance events. Meanwhile, Hughes figures to be a threat to advance to the regional after finishing fifth in the 400 and the high jump at Jeff last year.
“As a team, our goal is to finish within the top three of our conference,” New Wash coach Mark Schneider said. “We also hope to get two or three [athletes] out of the Jeffersonville Sectional.”
Junior sprinter Dontrez Jessup and sophomore sprinters Reggie Bailey and Zach Roseberry will lead the 2013 Rock Creek Academy team.
“We will be looking a lot toward individual success this season considering we only have 11 athletes [between the boys and girls],” Lions’ coach Kenton Aubrey said. “As far as within ourselves, we look to be very competitive. Unfortunately, we will have several events that we will not have athletes to fill.”
Eastern is the lone area team that will compete at the Bedford North Lawrence Sectional. The Musketeers were led to a seventh-place finish a year ago by Tevin Wolf, who returns this season.
Wolf won the high jump and was third in the long jump at Bedford as a junior. He also won the regional in the high jump before finishing 16th at state.
“We are hopeful that he can repeat those performances and be on the podium at this year’s state meet,” Eastern coach John Dablow said.
Eastern also should be strong in the distance events with Khalil McDaniel, in the pole vault with Jordan Gray and in the sprints with Mike Hall. Five talented first-year athletes also join the Musketeers in 2013.
“With only one senior on this year’s team, our goal is to keep improving each meet,” Dablow said. “If we can get some of our young kids to score in the bigger meets, it will be a successful season.”