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Page B6 • • Thursday, May 2, 2013 kh

Despite unusual weather, spring offers variety of outdoor activities Despite the unseasonably cool, windy and extremely rainy weather we had in April, and it looks like that possibly will continue off and on in early May, spring is slowly ushering in. The weather may have postponed the arrival of our typical spring days, but rest assured they are to come. Without a doubt, the torrential rains have kept us from doing much spring JOE fishing thus far, MARTINO and the late ar- OUTDOOR riving spring COLUMNIST weather is definitely helping to make the turkey hunting a chore as well. Most of the area reservoirs are still stained with water rushing out of their spillways making fishing difficult in either area. For the most part, the turkeys have still been in large flocks and the gobblers have been in the company of hens pretty much all day long, making it frustrating for many hunters as they aren’t able to call a gobbler away from the hens. Normally by this time of year, the hens may be with the gobblers until mid-morning when they head to their nests to lay and care for their eggs, but the weather seems to have pushed this back a bit. Plus, if any of the nests have flooded out, this will also


cause the hens to remain with the toms. Despite the weather, Nicholas and I have been toughing it out when we can since the youth turkey season began. We have also been attempting to get in a little casting and blasting. On the weekends we have been turkey hunting in the mornings and crappie or white bass fishing in the afternoons – each with little success. I expect that to change soon, however. As I pen this column the weather outside is gorgeous. It’s a beautiful warm, sunny spring Indiana day. By later in the week and into the weekend, however, the temperatures are supposed to drop nearly twenty degrees and more rain is set to move in. As is usually the case most years, I fully expect that the last few days of the turkey season will be the best. Over the years, I have found that besides the first couple of days of the season, the last few can be some of the best. By then the majority of the hens are spending most of their time on the nests, forcing gobblers to actively seek out any receptive hens – in turn making them much more susceptible to your calling and decoys. Once the waters recede and the rivers and reservoirs clear up, expect good fishing for crappies through May. I look forward to that,

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named to the NAIA Division II All-American following the season after leading the Kats to the Sweet Sixteen of the NAIA national championships. The Outstanding Performer award recognizes the outstanding student-athletes for the current year, with career accolades also being taken into account. Athletic achievement and the compatibility of the student-athlete and the IWU athletic philosophy are considered for the award which is voted upon by the athletic department. All the finalists were announced for the Outstanding Performer award. Joining the finalist list with Smith was Yui Iwase from volleyball, Katie Smith of softball, and Andrea Meyering from the women’s tennis team. Other finalist with Hopkins for the honor were Kyle Abney of men’s track and field, Brooks Ayers with men’s tennis, Geoff Bowman on the men’s soccer team, Quinn Nofziger from baseball, and Ethan Naylor who runs cross country and track and field. ONE SHOT WONDERS At the Wildcat Creek Golf Course, 17 year-old Baylor Woolley hit a hole in one using a 9-iron on the 147-yard hole No. 7. The shot was witnessed by George Divine and Todd Kelley. GREENTOWN BASEBALL OPENING DAY Greentown Youth Baseball will celebrate opening day with a parade and breakfast on Saturday, May 4. All teams will ride in the parade, which starts at 9 a.m. The parade begins at the Howard

Kokomo Relays double-winner Waylon Coulter of Kokomo enjoys a moment of relaxation. (Photo by Thomas Birch)


Nicholas Martino with a cold water crappie. The conditions have not been the best for outdoorsmen lately, but we are still having fun. (Photo provided)

and I know Nicholas sure does. Each day should get a little better – barring any more ridiculous amounts of rainfall like we have recently experienced. Oh yeah, and people in the area are also beginning to find the first morel mushrooms of the season. You see, there is a light at the end of the tunnel so take advantage of the few nice days we are getting here and there to venture outside. There is plenty to

County 4-H Fairgrounds, traveling south on Meridian Street, west on Walnut Street, and south on Harrison Street to the major league diamond. Opening ceremonies will be immediately following the parade, and includes introductions of all teams and players. The concession stand will host an allyou-can-eat biscuits and gravy breakfast on opening day, starting at 9 a.m. Cost is $5 per person, and proceeds benefit the league and its players. KATS-NCC ATHLETE OF THE WEEK Each week, Kokomo High School nominates a studentathlete for North Central Conference Student-Athlete of the Week. Last week’s honoree was Waylon Coulter. The senior was named the Ham Riggs Outstanding Meet Performer at the Muncie Relays. He won the high jump with a leap of 6-2 and the pole vault at 14-0. He also won both events at the Marion Relays and topped the field in the high jump at a meet with Lafayette Jefferson. BLACKMON RETURNS TO MARION The Marion Giants are going back in time as they selected one-time basketball standout James Blackmon Sr. as the new

do right now – when the weather permits! I have high hopes for the month of May and I plan to enjoy as many of the days outside as I can before the dog days of summer hit. Hopefully, we will have a turkey or two, some crappie filets and fried morels along the way. Good luck to you in your spring outdoor pursuits and may the weather straighten up for you as well.

boys basketball coach. Blackmon played at Marion and was second to Steve Alford in the 1983 Indiana Mr. Basketball voting. He leaves Fort Wayne Bishop Luers, where he coached the squad to a 147-63 record and two Class 2A state titles. Blackmon has two sons who will join him at Marion – James Blackmon Jr. will be a senior and has already committed to Indiana University and Vijay is a 6-2 freshman who has already been offered a scholarship by IU. Along with Vijay, the Hoosiers have offered a scholarship to fellow Class of 2016 recruits Eron Gordon of North Central (brother of former Hoosier Eric) and De‘Ron Davis of Colorado. HOWARD COUNTY FREE PHYSICALS Kokomo High School will host the 2013 Howard County Free Physicals on Wednesday, May 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the high school. The free physicals are offered to male and female student-athletes from Eastern, Kokomo, Northwestern, Taylor, Western and St. Joan of Arc/St. Patrick schools who are presently enrolled in grades 8-11 and have an interest in participating in their respective high school athletic programs during the 2013-2014 school year. Prior to the May 8, studentathletes must pick up the IHSAA physical form from their respective athletic director, complete the information requested and have the parent and student signatures completed. Student-athletes will not be permitted to participate in the free physical if the forms are not completed correctly. Howard County is one of the

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those relays and was a member of the state championship half-mile relay team. Overton holds the distinction of being the only person to run, coach and organize the Kokomo Relays. Kokomo finished first or second in 10 of the first 11 Relays. Beginning in 1937, the event was split into two divisions – big schools and small schools – and two champions were crowned. That format stood until 1999 when a girls division was added. In all, the Wildkats have won a record 19 boys titles, followed by Tipton with 12 (all in the B division) and Muncie Central with 9. Warsaw leads with seven girls titles, followed by Kokomo’s three. The Walter Cross Award was added in 1978 to recognize the most outstanding participants of the Kokomo Relays. Cross was an IHSAA basketball Gimbel Award winner (forerunner to the current Trester Award for mental attitude) at Thorntown High School in 1919 before arriving at Kokomo in 1926, where he taught for the next 40 years. He coached many sports, including serving as the track and cross country coach for the Kats. He is a member of the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame, the Indiana Track and Field Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. The KHS football and track complex is named for Cross, who attended every Kokomo Relay from 19251987. As for the award, Western’s Dean Kelly won the first Walter Cross Award in 1978, and it wasn’t until 1983 that a Wildkat won (Kriss Abney and Phill Schrieber shared the honor). In 2000, a girls Walter Cross Award was initiated and presented for the first time to Latisha Poulard of Kokomo. Tony Manis (1987-1988), Pat Peirce (1990-1991), Ashley Taflinger (1999, 2001), and Lashonda Davis (2001, 2003) are the only athletes to be awarded two Walter Cross Awards. Kokomo and Howard County have deep roots in athletic competitions, and the Kokomo Relays are a classic representation of the origins of those events.

very few counties in Indiana that still provides free physicals for prospective student-athletes. The Howard County Medical Association has been instrumental in the success of the Howard County Free Physicals. Also, registered nurses, physical therapists, EMT’s, coaches, and administrators have volunteered their time to participate in the free physicals. Again this year, the Community Howard Regional Health Cardiovascular Services are offering free ultrasound screening during the Free Physical Night. The ultrasound will only be for the limited purpose of detecting Marfan’s Syndrome (a grossly enlarged aorta) and Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis (extremely large septum). The ultrasound screening is optional to the student-athlete. Those student-athletes wishing to participate must sign a consent form. The ultrasound screening consent form will be attached to the IHSAA physical form and must be completed prior to Free Physical Night. Any questions regarding the ultrasound screening should be addressed to the respective athletic directors. Last year, nearly 1,000 studentathletes from Howard County took advantage of the Free Physicals. KOKOMO DISTANCE CAMP The 43rd Annual Kokomo Summer Distance Camp will take place on five consecutive Tuesdays, beginning on June 25 and ending on July 30. Kokomo High School distance coach Ricke Stucker and Wildkat distance runners will conduct the annual camp, which costs $30, or

$8 per session. The camp is held at Kokomo’s Walter Cross Field, and T-shirts will be provided to participants who pre-pay. Age groups are 10 years old and under (male and female), 11-13 years old (male and female), 1419 years old (male and female) and open (male and female). For more information, contact Ricke Stucker at FORMER IU STAR COMING TO KOKOMO On May 18 at 10 a.m. at the Great Faith Christian Center (210 W. King St., Kokomo), Pastor Anthony “A.T.” Thompson will be the keynote speaker during the Center's Career Day activities. This free community event is open to all children. Thompson is an Indiana University Hall of Fame football player who finished second in the 1989 Heisman's voting. From 1990-1992, the Terre Haute native played for the Phoenix Cardinals and L.A. Rams. He is currently the pastor of Lighthouse Community Church in Bloomington. For more information, call (765) 431-2405. UPCOMING RUNNING EVENTS May 11: Norris Insurance 4 Mile Run & 5K Walk. Race day registration runs from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. in Kokomo’s Jackson-Morrow Park. May 18: Miami Correctional Facility 5K Run & 5K Walk. Race day registration runs from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. at the Pipe Creek Fire Department in Bunker Hill.