Parker Stokes Leaves Lasting Legacy At Maine-EndwellPosted: Updated:
Endwell, N.Y. - Remarkable things happen when an athlete is just as talented as they are hardworking. Maine-Endwell's cross country and track stand out Parker Stokes has embodied those values in his five years as a Spartan. His numbers certainly speak for themselves.
The future Georgetown University runner broke two Maine-Endwell records, the 3,200 and 2,000 meter steeplechase record. Parker was also named New York Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year and reinforced his legacy this past weekend by winning back to back New Balance National Championships. If my research serves me right no high school runner from New York has ever accomplished that.
Fresh off of prom and entering as the defending champion, some may think the moment may be to overwhelming. Those are the moments Parker strives in, the moments that separate from most runners.
"He honestly runs effortless" said Parker's high school coach Megan Jacoby. "He just has this amazing natural ability."
"The first year I didn't have much pressure besides winning states" said Parker. "Now, I was coming back as the favorite to win the National Championship. That I guess put a lot of pressure on me to perform well."
But only the best perform the best under pressure. Parker leaves Maine-Endwell ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 2k Steeplechase.
"The coaches who have been around for many years always say he's been their most favorite runner to watch" said Megan. "They told me he's on their top 10 list of most impressive athletes they've ever seen."
"I never imagined myself getting up to that level" said Parker.
His family however, his biggest supporters, they certainly imagined it. The moment Parker was in ninth grade, his father knew something special was brewing.
"He surprised a lot of people" said Parker's father, David Cook. "Parker came out of no where and started putting up crazy times and from there, we were like, wow, he's got something going on, it was great."
"He's been such an amazing example as far as the hard work and commitment and dedication to the sport" Megan said. "He couldn't have been a better role model for my younger kids.
Someone who would certainly agree with that, is his teammate, the only other runner to compete at Nationals from Maine-Endwell, his younger sister Lindsey.
"He's been my only role model" Lindsey said. "I've always wanted to be him. He sets such a good example for all the teammates. He's been such a good role model to every one."
And the ceiling for Parker's future? Well, It doesn't exit.
"I don't think any runner from Maine-Endwell has had such big odds to really make an impact at the collegiate level and even possibly post collegiate level" Megan said. "I truly believe I'll see him in the Olympics one day. He has the ability, the mindset, the personality and if he wants it, we'll be seeing his name for many years to come."
Parker will run Cross Country, winter and spring Track and Field on a full scholarship to Georgetown in the Fall of 2019.