KMA Sports reporter Brent Barnett presents a KMA Hall of Fame plaque to Rock Port Track Coach Jan Burke on Friday, January 5, 2018.
Together the Parrish and Jackson families with members of the Rock Port 2008 Missouri State Track & Field championship team unveil the dedicated track record board.
Pictured are members of the Jackson and Parrish families with the Rock Port Track record board dedicated in Kyleigh Parrish’s memory.
On Friday, January 5, 2018, during half-time of the Rock Port varsity girls basketball game, one of the greatest track and field teams in the history of KMAland was inducted into the KMA Sports Hall of Fame. A dedication ceremony was also held for the Rock Port Track record board in memory of Kyleigh Parrish. The following was read by Shauna Farmer:
Coach Burke, a two time MTCCCA Coach of the Year, and a Missouri Coaches Association Coach of the Year would like to personally recognize her assistant coaches and volunteers Afton Schomburg, Amanda Raithel, Phil Vogler and Sue Owen for their commitment and dedication to the Blue Jay track program that year. The mix of these individuals allowed for this team to excel and reach the ultimate goal of becoming state champions. The whole track season was great that year with a true meaning of the word TEAM. Everyone scored various points at track meets throughout the year and one of Burke’s favorite sayings, “There is no I in team” was evident. They were able to win Blue Jay Relays and were the overall champions with the Rock Port boys, they won Tiger Relays, Indian Relays, Stanberry Bulldog Relays, were the 275 Conference Champions, won 1A Districts, and even though no team scores were kept, scored the most points at 1A Sectional AND won the State Meet. It’s rare that any team has an undefeated season in any sport, but these girls accomplished that, which is even a rarer event in track. The team scored 58 points to win state with Meadville a close second with 52. Points scored were *Abbey (AB) Lawrence, 8th in the 800; *Leslie (Crash) Alitz, 6th in the 1600 and 5th in the 3200; *Kori (Sheldy) Sheldon, with a 6th in the 400; *Elyssa (Elly) Ellison, 7th in the 1600; *Makayla (Shotz) Vette, 4th in the shot put and a 4th in the 4X200 relay (consisting of *Stephanie Burge, Dixie Garst, *Laura Graybill, and Kori Sheldon). The 4X400 placed 4th and running that relay were Laura Graybill, Abbey Lawrence, Elyssa Ellison, and Kori Sheldon. The state champion 4X800 relay team of Elyssa Ellison, Abbey Lawrence, Karley (DO) Evans and Leslie Alitz ran a time of 10:06.79 which remains the Rock Port record and appears on the board we will dedicate. Rounding out the state points were individual state champions Laura Graybill in the high jump and Kyleigh (KP) Parrish in the discus. Also attending the state track meet were Hannah (Vet) Vette who participated in the mile and was in a 5-way tie for 7th in the pole vault and Kaci (KC) Demott who was the alternate on all three relays and Larissa (Bif) Kirkland, who ran the prelims of the 4X4 relay the first day. Other members of the Rock Port team that year included Bailey Anderson, Chelsea Ashford, Hayley Christian, Chelsea Cooper, Laura Garst, Emily Graham, Jessica Salmond, Jordan Thomas, Tanya Thompson, Kassie Wilson and Rachel Young.
Unfortunately, we lost one member of our track family in a tragic accident a couple of years ago. We would like to celebrate and honor the Parrish and Jackson families with a memorial in honor of the 2008 discus state champion Kyleigh Parrish.
The following is a message from Coach Burke: I will always remember Kyleigh because a coach always develops a relationship with each athlete and the one with KP was an especially close one. She would stay after practice, sometimes over an hour, and just talk and laugh with Afton, Raithel, and me and sometimes just me talking about life, where she was headed and just things we face in life, including daily struggles, future plans and our spiritual beliefs and thoughts. Most of the time it had nothing to do with track but about personal questions, thoughts and ideas.
With donations used from Kyleigh’s memorial we are happy to unveil the Rock Port Track record board that will be hung in Blue Jay hallway in Kyleigh’s memory. Here to help us unveil the board are members of the Parrish and Jackson families and Kyleigh’s 2008 teammates. * Denotes the team members present at the ceremonies.