Ben Parrish saves his best for the big meets.
It gets no bigger than what’s up next for the Richmond High School senior.
Parrish will represent the Red Devils at Friday’s IHSAA state track and field meet at Robert C. Haugh Track and Field Complex on the campus of Indiana University.
Admission is $10.
Parrish’s season-best leap came at the North Central Conference tournament, when he lept 23 feet, ¾ inches to become conference champion.
He started as a sprinter and took on the long jump a year ago come sectional time and eventually qualified for the indoor state meet this past winter.
There, he had a long jump of 21-2 ½ to finish 15th, which at the time was his season best.
“He jumped 23 feet at the NCC meet,” Richmond track and field coach Ken Hittson said. ” … I think he can jump another 23 foot, so if he jumps 23 feet, he can be state champion. If he gets a good jump in and gets a good day, I think he could do well.”
Parrish earned a sectional championship in not only the long jump, but also the 100-meter dash and helped Jalen Bailey, Ty Williams and Daniel Ekwealor win the 400 relay, as the Red Devils contended for a sectional title.
His sectional championship leap was 21-5½.
At the Connersville regional, Parrish missed the cut in the sprints, but that allowed him to focus on what turned out to be his best event.
A surprisingly cold day slowed him down just enough to keep him from winning the regional title, but not enough to deny him a ticket to state.
His second-place leap came at 21-5¾.
Waldron’s Skyler Peetz was regional champion in the event with a 21-9.
“It kind of added a lot of stress, because I was worried about my legs locking up. And then with the cold weather, it came out of nowhere in the final,” he said. “So it made it that much harder and I just tried to stay focused.”
Trials for the long jump start at 3 p.m.
The top 10, plus any ties, advance to the championship round.
“I think I could do really well, because I think I’m the type of athlete that performs around who I’m competing against, so that will help me out,” Parrish said. ” … It’s going to take mentally how I mentally prepare myself for this without school. I got to work harder.”