Cleveland High School junior Eric Parker knows his bread and butter comes when he lines up with obstacles in front of him.For the standout Blue Raider track athlete, redemption has been on his …
Cleveland High School junior Eric Parker knows his bread and butter comes when he lines up with obstacles in front of him.
For the standout Blue Raider track athlete, redemption has been on his mind.
While Parker led all of Class AAA last season in the 110-meter hurdles, a missed infraction by an opponent at sectionals kept the star out of qualifying for state championship race.
Shaking off the frustration, he went on to become an all-state decathlete despite being one of the youngest participants.
Putting forth a rock-solid offseason in dedication to his craft, Parker trained with fellow standout teammate Benjedi Casseus (Class AAA 110mH state champion) along with the likes of Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences standout Brevin Sims (Class A-AA 110mH state champion).
Realizing his calling on the track, Parker absolutely has thrilled this season in shattering previous records.
On March 17 at the Ridge to River Early Bird Relays it was Casseus who set a new CHS record as well as the state's fastest 110mH time at 14.24 seconds.
The pair of state champion hurdler hopefuls have continued to embrace the challenges they present to one another.
With blazing speed, strong kicks over the hurdles and a powerful mindset, Parker blazed his way to an incredible finish at the GPS track in Friday's Chattanooga Optimist Championships.
It only took 14.10 seconds to clear all 10 hurdles in a race where he was compelled to push himself a little bit faster with elite opponents and friends surrounding him.
His workout partners followed behind, as Sims finished in second with an elite time of 14.18 and Casseus placed third at 14.82.
With a finish that would catch any Division-I college coach's eye, Parker came in just .35 seconds off the fastest 110mH time in the entire country this season.
Meanwhile, he was not the only Blue Raider to excel and turn heads on the way to helping the team to a third-place finish in a field of nine teams.
Naval Academy football commit Keegan Jones also set a new school record and posted the fasted 100-meter dash with a time of 10.78 seconds.
With powerful strides and cutting through the air, Jones beat his previous best time by .09 seconds to top his own school record.
The first-place 100m sprint bested the field by .35 seconds over McCallie's Josh Ryce and was .37 seconds faster than Vanderbilt football signee in Baylor's Brendon Harris.
Jones' finish was the second fastest recorded in Bradley County history, as Bradley Central's Cason Still owns the fastest time in the 100m at 10.70.
Cleveland's two-sport standout also finished just .02 seconds shy of a school record, as Jones won the 200m dash with a new personal record time of 21.97. He nearly broke Tyler Davis' record, who has set Army's school record in the 200m in a tremendous college career.
Jones finished .46 seconds ahead of anyone else, as CSAS' Sims took second.
Other first-place finishers for CHS at the Optimist Championship, which consisted of 10 teams, were David Dorsey, Ti'yanna Johnson and Casseus.
Casseus thrilled those in attendance and his team by beating a state decathlon champion in McCallie's Hakim McMorris, who is considered by some to be the state's top track athlete.
The senior fellow reigning state champ for the Blue Raiders won the 400m dash with a time of 52.09, while McMorris followed closely at 52.25.
A standout leaper on the football field at defensive back, Dorsey turned his talents to the triple jump for the first time and leapt 41-feet, 8 inches, a distance 1 foot, 5 inches farther than anyone else.
Meanwhile, Johnson was the 100m champion with a 12.15 finish just four seconds shy of her own school record.
The 4x200m relay of Zylon Cooper, Colby Evans, Casseus and Jones has set a school record too at 1:29.95.
This past week's performance at the Optimist has revealed several CHS athletes could create even more noise this postseason.
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