By GREG MENGELT
Codie Hamsley threw the discus 194 feet in his second throw at Friday’s IHSAA state track and field championship at Indiana University and it stood up for Floyd Central’s first boys’ track individual state champion since 1996 and its second in school history.
Hamsley joins Ben Jackson, who also won the discus in 1996, as a Highlander track champion. Hamsley finished second a year ago and has had his eye on a gold medal since finishing behind Carmel’s Langston Newton last May.
“It’s just amazing,” Hamsley said. “It’s a load off. I don’t think I slept more than an hour last night. I was freaking out.”
Hamsley scratched on his first throw, then became the thrower to beat early with a 194 on his second attempt. The future Louisville Cardinal finished with three of the top four throws in the competition.
“I was pretty happy about that,” Hamsley said of the second throw. “It wasn’t a great day for me, but it got the job done so I can’t complain.”
Hamsley wasn’t sure when the disc left his hand if he’d gotten a state championship toss — until he heard the Floyd Central crowd. Then he held up his index finger and instantly knew he was in the driver’s seat.
“I thought it might be 180-plus, but it’s so level out there, you can’t tell,” Hamsley said of the Indiana University track and field facility field. “I just knew once I heard the crowd cheering that, oh, it was a good throw.”
While Hamsley wasn’t able to stretch his lead, no one else was able to surpass him. The closest was Lake Central’s Gelen Robinson — the son of former Gary Roosevelt Mr. Basketball and Purdue and NBA star Glenn Robinson — who managed a 187-5.
After Robinson’s final throw failed to reach 194 feet, Hamsley knew the title was his.
“I was watching Gelen and he was probably the last one that could get a throw out there to beat me,” Hamsley said. “He threw it [and came up short] and I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! Finally!’”
Borden’s Brett Williams finished 15th in the discus. Hamsley placed a disappointing 24th in the shot put, but he already had a championship in hand and wasn’t too bothered by the result.
“I did what I came to do,” he said.
Just after Hamsley won his state championship, New Albany’s Jermaine Parrish attempted to repeat as the 100-meter dash champion.
But it wasn’t Parrish’s day. After failing to make the 200 final, Parrish crossed the finish line in eighth in his repeat bid in the 100 final.
“Today really wasn’t my day,” Parrish said. “My stomach was a little heavy and my legs got tight, so today wasn’t the best of my days. Today when I came out, I just didn’t feel good. Unfortunately, I just didn’t bring it back home this year.”
Jermaine wasn’t the only Parrish in his 200 trial. Cousin Marquise Parrish of Clarksville ran next to the defending 200 runner-up and finished 26th overall in his first year competing in track.
After finishing fifth a year ago, Jeffersonville senior Tyrell Dowdell expected to win the 400-meter championship and led most of the way on Friday. Hamilton Southeastern’s Ryan Davis and South Bend Riley’s Thomas Capers were able to get by Dowdell down the stretch as the Red Devil runner placed third.
“Third’s OK,” the future Indiana State Sycamore said. “Everything went very well in the beginning. In the end, I tightened up and got passed by two people. I gave it my all and I’m happy for that. I worked really hard all year just to get up there again. Third’s OK.”
Eastern’s Tevin Wolf cleared 6 feet, 6 inches in the high jump for a fifth-place finish.
“I wanted to get on the medal stand,” Wolf said. “That’s what I came here to do and I got it. I’ve battled injury all year or else, to be honest, I could have done better. The way my legs felt, I’m happy with fifth.”
Floyd Central’s Adam Wallace placed 25th in the 800 and Gaige Klingsmith was 28th in the 100. Jeffersonville’s 400 relay team of Raeshawn Ragland, Chase Scott, Tyler Kahl and Isaiah Balton finished 26th, and its 1,600 relay team of Jordan Vejar, Isaiah Salazar, David Morales and Dowdell moved up seven spots from its seeding to finish 21st.
Scott jumped 21-9 3/4 to finish 15th in the long jump.
North Harrison’s Jonathan Reynolds placed fifth in the 1,600, and Corydon Central’s Levi Taylor placed eighth in the 3,200.