In 2010, East Jessamine cross-country runner Cody Parks finished 105th with a time of 18 minutes, 57.21 seconds at the state cross-country championships. His senior year in 2011, he finished 10th with a time of 17:10.45. His hard work from one November to the next launched him 95 spots and cut his time by more than 100 seconds. His hard work paid off in yet another way last Wednesday when he signed with Bellarmine University to run cross-country and track for the Knights.
Parks visited just about every college in the state before choosing Bellarmine.
He first visited the Louisville-based campus earlier in the year and knew from the environment and fellow runners that he wanted to go there.
Just to be sure, he waited two months and continued to visit other schools in the state, but he had it in his mind that Bellarmine was the right place.
“It was pretty easy. I didn’t want to go to a big school. I love running so much, but it’s academics first. Bellarmine had the academics, had a place where I could run and still be very successful,” Parks said. “The program is growing ... and they have a really strong freshman class coming in this year along with me.”
Parks also performed well at the state track-and-field championships his junior year, helping the boys 4x800-meter relay team to an 11th-place finish with a time of 8:37.21.
“Cody is the definition of hard work and determination,” East cross-country coach Sylvester Turner said.
“I’ve had really supportive coaches,” Parks said. “Coach Turner obviously. He takes time out of his life and he’s learned as much as I’ve learned — we’ve kind of learned together what it takes.”
Parks plans on studying sports therapy. He wants to stay in running and athletics even when his running career is over.