Optimism abounds for Tullier, CSCC

By PATRICK MacCOON patrick.maccoon@clevelandbanner.com
Posted 6/17/17

Going into unchartered waters, Parker Tullier and his future program will all be in the same boat.

With track experience as a sprinter and natural athleticism to rely on, Tullier will become a …

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Optimism abounds for Tullier, CSCC

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Going into unchartered waters, Parker Tullier and his future program will all be in the same boat.

With track experience as a sprinter and natural athleticism to rely on, Tullier will become a part of the first Cleveland State Community College cross country team in the university’s 50th year of existence.

Even for the recent Cleveland High School graduate, the investment in helping jump-start a brand new program came as a surprise.

“I had no idea this was even going to happen,” Tullier said. “I found out this week I was getting offered a scholarship. Coach (David) Kyle gave me the chance to run, so I took it.”

With his third signee to the boys team, the Cougars first cross country head coach needs just two more to complete an official boys roster. Hopes are to bring the team total to seven or eight by the end of the summer.

The addition of Tullier intrigues the former Bradley Central three-sport standout, who has over 30 years of experience in the sport and also ran in college at the University of North Alabama.

“I told him, ‘I don’t know. You don’t know. You may be the best distance runner in Cleveland.’ I am excited to see what he can do after a few months of training for distance. I think he is going to be a fine runner.”

Tullier has already begun the transition of adjusting to ‘trail-running’ after spending three seasons on the track for the Blue Raiders.

His personal records included: 12.72 (100-meter dash), 25.14 (200m), 58.89 (400m). He also took fourth place overall at a talent-filled Chattanooga Optimist Club Championship with a triple jump length of 40 feet and 7 inches.

So far he has been able to keep pace with a fellow 2017 CHS grad and future Cougar teammate in Blaine Boley, as the two ‘brothers’ have been training with 5-10 mile runs already this summer.

“Me and Blaine push each other and will throughout our time at college and life,” Tullier said. “He lives with me and my family. We hold each other accountable for going to practice and running.”

With a Walker Valley High School diploma in hand, fellow signee Tyler Hollis will join forces to try and make a successful beginning for a new program.

CSCC is the first Division I Junior College program in the state to sign athletes for their first season in the upcoming fall, although Jackson State and Columbia State each had hopes for teams as well.

“Me and my teammates get to compete for the first records and fastest times at Cleveland State and that is really cool,” Tullier said. “I have high hopes for the program and I think good things are going to happen.”

While some distance runners enter college beat up from the mileage on their legs, Tullier’s freshness arouses curiosity.

“Parker is not beat up and he is in shape,” said Coach Kyle. “He can excel in this sport and could be stronger than anyone. We don’t know. That’s what is exciting about it. He’s a great kid and very coachable.”

The surprise chance to make history for his hometown school is one that could not be passed up.

“I am optimistic, but I am just telling myself I can do it,” said Tullier, who would like to be a contractor one day and finish his schooling at UTC or UTK. “I want to get in top shape and keep up with the front of the pack.”

LADY COUGARS UPDATE

CSCC’s women’s cross country program currently has four signees and sits one away from finalizing an official team.

Among those who plan to run for the Lady Cougars this fall are: Bradley Central’s Whitney McConnell, Cleveland’s Matilda Lee, Lenoir City’s Madison Guider and Red Bank’s Amber Rogers.

Guider and Rogers are the two newest additions.

Guider was the track and cross country team captain for Lenoir City in 2017.

Rogers, who finished her career at Red Bank, was a two-time state cross country qualifier while at Rhea County High School. She ran the 4x800 and 3200m for the Lions this past track season.

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