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SPORTS BUZZ Kokomo Herald

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Relays are oldest in America



Courtesy of Sports Journal of Central Indiana

CARDWELL 12TH IN BIG TEN FINALS Kokomo High School graduate and University of Iowa senior women’s golfer Kristi Cardwell finished tied for 12th at the Big Ten Championships in French Lick, Ind. The Hawkeyes carded a 305 (+17) on the final day of competition to place ninth with a 54-hole score of 924 (+60). “Today was a great competitive opportunity for us, and I was really proud of the way we played,” said head coach Megan Menzel. Cardwell posted a solid round of 76 (+4) on the final day of play shooting 13 holes at or below par. Cardwell carded a 54-hole score of nine-over-par 225 (77-72-76) and finished tied for 12th - one stroke off a top 10 finish. “Krisit has been a great competitor and leader for us all year,” said Menzel. Paula Reto of Purdue shot a 212 to garner low medalist honors. Caroline Powers of Michigan State was second (219), followed by Katlyn Elliott (Penn State) and Christine Meier (Michigan State) at 220. Northwestern won the team title, followed by Purdue and Michigan State. The conference tournament was the last competition of the 2012-2013 season, wrapping up Menzel’s second season as head coach and Cardwell’s collegiate career at Iowa. “I have seen a lot of growth in our team this year,” said Menzel. “It was great to see Kristi and Gigi finish the tournament strong.” HOPKINS EARNS IWU HIGH HONOR

By Dean Hockney Sports Editor The 89th Annual Kokomo Relays, dubbed “The oldest continuous high school track meet in the United States,” outlasted a windy afternoon and crowned 14 champions last Saturday at Walter Cross Field. On the boys side, Crown Point captured its second consecutive Kokomo Relays title and third overall. The Bulldogs topped the Wildkats 134-103. Western finished third (80.5), followed by Ben Davis (68.5), Marion (48), Northwestern (39), Richmond (37) and Peru (31). Kokomo’s Waylon Coulter led the Wildkats with two championship performances. The senior topped the field by six inches with a leap of 6-7 in the high jump and won the pole vault after clearing 15-0. In the 14th edition of the girls Kokomo Relays, Warsaw cruised to its third consecutive title, outscoring second place Noblesville 149-124. This was a record eighth team championship for the Lady Tigers. Kokomo was third (92.5), followed by Northwestern (52), Marion (43), Western (30.5), Peru (24) and Richmond (14). Summer Blackamore turned in a stellar performance for the Lady Kats, winning the shot put with a Kokomo Relays record toss of 40-6.76 while winning the discus with a throw of 121-3. Rachel Mather of Noblesville won the girls Walter Cross Award and Zach Seamon of Crown Point captured the boys Walter Cross Award as the meets most outstanding performers. And speaking of Seamon, he was involved in what may be the closest Relays finish ever. In the 1,000, Western’s Matt Grider had the lead coming down the stretch, but Seamon came within .001 seconds of

catching him at the finish line. Both runners stretched for the win, with Grider almost lunging across the line and tumbling to the hard track surface. For nearly 15 minutes, officials conferred, watched and viewed the finish line photos before declaring Grider the victor. That proved to be the only running victory of the day for Howard County. Northwestern’s Amber Miller had a strong day, taking first in the long jump and fifth in the pole vault. Kokomo’s Darrion McAlister took first in the discus by crushing the field by nearly 30 feet and was second in the shot put. Kokomo Relays history Since 1925, Kokomo High School has hosted the Kokomo Relays, a combination of traditional and non-traditional track and field events. Founded by former KHS track coach and Athletic Director Chet Hill, the Kokomo Relays pre-dates the construction of the old Kautz Field in downtown Kokomo. The first championship went to Indianapolis Arsenal Technical High School by two points over Kokomo, 25-23. Along with the host school, Frankfort, Elwood, Logansport, Indianapolis Manual, Rochester, Peru, Wabash and Fort Wayne Southside took part in the inaugural event that drew 138 athletes. The first Kokomo Relays featured one of the greatest athletes to ever wear Red and Blue, Russell “Rut” Walter – a kid who almost didn’t play organized sports. Walter was a 6-foot-1, three-sport star at Kokomo, but he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and his family nearly moved to Arizona to help with his condition. Thankfully, a second opinion showed he was misdiagnosed and simply needed a daily dose of tonic and Epsom salts to treat his condition. From there, he went on to a pro-

It did not feel like the end of another school year at Indiana Wesleyan University on Wednesday when Wildcat athletics held the 45th Annual Champions of Character All-Sports Award Ceremony at the Indiana Wesleyan Student Center. The high temperature on Wednesday was in the low40s while rain mixed with snow. Wednesday was the last day of finals for Indiana Wesleyan students before leaving to go home for summer break. Despite the un-spring like temperatures outside, the All-Sports Ceremony was a success inside with 363 student-athletes. Earning the highest honors of the evening was a pair of seniors. Paige Smith of the women’s basketball and outdoor track and field teams was selected as the Outstanding Female Performer while Kokomo native Patrick Hopkins of the men’s basketball team was chosen as the Outstanding Male Performer. It is the first time two basketball players won the awards since 2007 when Liz Howerth and Joel Tonagel were selected. Hopkins averaged 17.6 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as he helped lead the Wildcats to a 26-7 record and a fourth consecutive conference championship. He was Lewis Cass senior baseball player Austin Clem

(Above) Kokomo senior Tyrelle Daniel, a transfer from South Carolina, competes in his first Kokomo Relays. (Below) Nick Braden finished fourth in the long jump for the Western Panthers (Photos by Thomas Birch)

lific high school athletic career, including winning six IHSAA track state championships. Prior to the first Kokomo Relays, Walter led the Wildkats to a state runnersup finish in boys basketball, where he was awarded the Gimbel Medal, the predecessor to today’s Trester Award. An interesting note on his Gimbel Medal is the fact it was personally presented to him by the inventor of the game of basketball, Dr. James Naismith. When it came time to run in the first Kokomo Relays, he captured a pair of wins – the 100-yard dash and the 220-yard dash. He later enjoyed a renowned college running and coaching career and is a charter member of the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame. Kokomo finished second in year two of the Relays, and won its first title in 1927. Frank “Bud” Overton participated in both of 


Austin Clem gives from the heart


and his younger brother Nathan. (Photo by Rick Conrad)

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By Rick Conrad Contributing Writer The school year is nearing an end and with that many area seniors are finishing up their senior projects. One such senior attends Lewis Cass and is the starting first baseman for the 9-2 Kings. When searching for an idea for his project, Austin Clem chose to combine his love of baseball with something that touched his life deeply as well as his entire family. After losing a stepfather to cancer Clem chose to put together a fundraiser with proceeds being donated to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research. The final piece of his project took place during the Kings win over TriCentral last Friday. Kevin LaCoco had a profound impact on many lives and Clem felt the need to do this as his project in memory of LaCoco. "Kevin came into my life when I was in third grade. At first he was a young guy and didn't really know kids that well. He had to change and adjust to us and when he started changing he became a better person and we saw the

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real Kevin," said Clem. "By the grace of God my brother Nathan wouldn't be here if it weren't for Kevin. With the medicine he was on because of the cancer he was told that he couldn't have kids." Kevin lost his battle with the awful disease in May of 2007. Two weeks prior to his passing he was unable to speak as his vocal chords were so swollen. Clem had a baseball game the day before he passed and before he left the house Kevin was able to remind him of something he'd often told him. "Base hit, not a home run." To this day, every time that Clem laces them up for a game he has the initials of the last thing Kevin said to him. He has BHNH on the side of his cleats in honor of a man that meant so much to him. Clem isn't looking to make this a sob story. His goal in choosing the Jimmy V Foundation was because he wants everyone to know that cancer is something that is very real. His motto during his fundraiser has been Raise Awareness Saves Lives. Matt Carver has been Clem's mentor through the

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process but Clem admits that he had a pretty good idea of where he wanted to go with the project. He has kept Carver in the loop so to speak of where he's at and where's he's going. Clem wants to thank his family for the assistance they've given him and a special thanks to Leslie Pickering for making the ribbons that he gave away at the Friday night game. "Austin is just a great kid. Everything he says comes from the heart. Kevin meant a great deal to all of us and he was a big fan of baseball as we all are. This was a way for Austin to tie the two together, baseball and the Jimmy V Foundation, as a way to honor him and raise money for cancer awareness," said Clem's mother, Michelle. Prior to every home game this season a senior is allowed to pick someone that has been a great influence on him to throw out the first pitch. Clem spoke briefly to the crowd before the pitch and explained why he chose this as his project. Clem then introduced his little brother to have that honor on this special night.

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