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By Bill Bray

FREMONT – Many People that visit the Fremont Ross Track at Fremont Ross High School are greeted by the “Record Board” as they enter inside the fence surrounding the facility.  If a person really takes the time to study the board, they can see that there is one record that draws the most attention.  The boy’s 200-meter record stands out, not only because of the time 21.1, but also because it was set 55 seasons ago in 1968.

            Steve Parker lays claim to that record and recently the former Fremont Ross Track “phenom” paid a visit to the track to remember and chat about his times back during his senior season.

            Parker, accompanied by his son Mike, was at the track at the request of this writer.  As a young 10-year-old at the time, Steve Parker was my first real hero.  I am gifted with firsthand recollections since my father was one of Steve’s coaches.

            Back in the day races were ran in yards instead of present day meters.  The Marion Night Relays in 1968 was the site of the 220 yard dash record that still stands all these years later.  The sprint races were run in preliminaries and then finals.  Parker ran the 21.3 clocking in his heat of the preliminaries. Later in the finals Parker was nudged out of first and finished with a 21.7. “The Smith kid from Springfield South was a hot shot runner,” Parker recalled of the man that nosed him out for first that night. “He went to meets all over the state to run. He and I got to know each other well over the years when we competed against each other. After I ran my 21.3 in the prelims, we saw each other, and he said ‘I am going to do my best to beat you. I responded with ‘well I am going to try to do the same thing.’  We went head-to-head all the way during that race, and he had just a little bit more of a lean than I did and beat me by .1 of a second.”

            Other memorable races that involved the former Little Giant were conference, district, and regional victories in the three dash races.  Parker once held a conference, district, regional, school and Harmon field record in at least one of the sprint events.

            He had duplicate finishes in the state meet in his junior and senior seasons with a fifth-place finish in the 440-yard dash.  He set the school record his junior year with a 49.3 then bettered that mark in the preliminaries of the 440 in Columbus his senior season with a 48.4.  That record stood until Adam Wilhelm ran a 48.1 in 2004. Parker also once shared the 100-yard dash record with Fremont legend Jim Tiller.

            He ran a controversial race at the regional meet in Mansfield in 1968.  “All these years later, I know I had that race won,” Parker said. “In the 100, Chuck Barrison from Willard was in the lane next to me. When the race ended Barrison was declared the winner.  We both had the same time and many eyewitnesses thought I had nudged him out for the win, but they gave it to him. “That was quite an argument about that race. I felt as though I beat Barrison fair and square because I could not see him out of the corner of my eye when I crossed the line. They gave us both 9.8 but gave the race to him.” Later in the meet, Barrison crossed the line third in the 220 behind Parker who won the race. “I told him after the 100 yard dash that he would never beat me again.” And he didn’t,” Parker added with a smile.

            The final race that set a school record with him in as anchor was the mile relay at the Fremont Night Relays.  The record was set in what the newspaper accounts called ‘the greatest mile ever run by a Ross team and the greatest ever witnessed in Harmon Stadium’.  The Bowling Green Runner had a good 40-yard lead on Parker when he got the anchor leg baton.  Under 48 seconds later, Parker crossed the finish line the victor.  The team’s time of 3:32.4 broke the 1938 Harmon Stadium record set by Sandusky in 3:32.9 as well as the school record that was set the year before.

            With his school records and duplicate fifth place finishes at the State meet in 1967 and 68, Steve Parker was enshrined into the Fremont Ross Hall of Fame in 2004.  A place well deserved for such a young spectacular sprinter and a sprinter that this writer will never forget.  God’s speed Steve Parker. A true Fremont Ross legend.





Dominating seasons of 1967 and 1968

1967 Buckeye Conference Champion  440 yard dash 51.1

1967 member of Buckeye Conference winning Mile Relay  3:33.0*. (School Record)

1967 District Champion  440 yard dash 51.0 (District Record)

1967 District Champion  220 yard dash 22.6

1967 Regional Champion 440 yard dash 50.4 (School Record)

1967 STATE PLACER:  5th 440 yard dash 49.3 (School Record)

1968 member of Fremont Night Relay winning Mile Relay 3:32.4 (School Record)

1968 Buckeye Conference Champion 100 yard dash  10.2

1968 Buckeye Conference Champion 220 yard dash 22.1

1968 Buckeye Conference Champion 440 yard dash 49.8 (tied BC Record)

1968 District Champion 100 yard dash 10.1 (District Record)

1968 District Champion 440 yard dash 51.3

1968 District Champion 220 yard dash 22.3

1968 Regional runnerup 100 yard dash 9.8 (Regional and school record tying)

1968 Regional Champion 220 yard dash 21.7

1968 STATE PLACER: 5th 440 yard dash 48.4 (School Record

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