Parks places, runs one of the fastest races in county history

COLUMBUS – United senior Allison Parks ran her best race Saturday.

A lot of others did, too.

Parks ran one of the fastest 1600 meters in Columbiana County history to place in the event at the state track meet a third straight year on Saturday.

She broke her own school record in 5 minutes, 3.35 seconds on her way to an eighth-place finish in Division II at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

“It was a tough race,” Parks said. “I’m happy for the competition. I ran as hard as I could. There are a lot of great runners.”

One of those great runners was Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy junior Sammy Bockhoven, who set a Division II state record with a winning time of 4:49.53.

Four other runners went under 4:56. The fifth-place finisher in Division II would have won in Division I by more than a second.

“I really wanted to get sub-five (minutes),” Parks said. “It was the race to do it because there were so many people under five.”

She was running in fifth place until the final lap.

“You have to remember, everyone out here is like you,” Parks said. “They got here like you did. You have to make sure you want it more.”

Her time was nearly two seconds faster than last year when she finished fifth in Division III.

“I love that race (the 1600),” she said. “It’s my favorite.”

Parks was on the ground for several minutes following the race and had nothing left for the 800 run less than an hour later. She finished 16th in pedestrian pace of 2:34.78.

“No excuses,” she said. “Obviously, I was dead. My stomach was still a mess after the mile. I gave it my all.”

She never thought about pulling out of the 800 run.

“It makes me mad when someone gets here and doesn’t run,” Parks said. “They’ve taken a spot from someone.”

She leaves United as one of its top runners ever – becoming the first to place at the state meet three years.

State notes

Parks was not around in the morning to see Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore Athena Welsh win the state title in the Division III 1600 run. Welsh tried to chase down Parks during cross country season.

Welsh’s winning time of 5:02.98 was less than four-tenths of a second faster than Parks’.

“I miss Division III,” Parks said.

Welsh also was state runner-up in the 3200 run (11:16.43).

Parks will report to the U.S. Naval Academy at 6:30 a.m. July 1 for what she calls “mini boot camp.”