VINCENT - Warren cross country and track and field standout Parker Blain is accustomed to running long distances.
One distance he will get used to over the next four years is 147 miles, which is approximately how far Blain's hometown of Marietta is away from Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, where he has decided to compete collegiately in cross country and track.
Blain, who will be 18 in May, signed to compete at Shawnee State Tuesday at the Warren High School gymnasium. He was joined by his mother Lisa Blain, Shawnee State coach Eric Putnam, Warren track coach Al Riffey, Warren cross country coach Debbie Proctor, Warren principal Ben Cunningham and former Warren and current Shawnee State runner Halle Richards.
Parker Blain signed a National Letter of Intent Tuesday to continue his education and run at Shawnee State University. Front row left to right: Eric Putnam Shawnee State University XC Coach, Parker Blain, Lisa Blain (mom), Halle Richards former Warren XC runner who now runs for Shawnee. Back row. Left to right: Track Coach Al Riffey, AD and XC Coach Debbie Proctor, Principal Ben Cunningham.
Blain likes how the campus is set up and believes he will enjoy the lifestyle.
"I really liked Shawnee because the campus living, the housing there is really unique," Blain said. "It's apartment style, it's not the typical dorms. The campus is newer, modern and it's not huge. I prefer to go to a smaller school."
Blain has enjoyed an accomplished prep career in both track and cross country. This fall, he placed 18th with a time of 16 minutes, 37.16 seconds at the state cross country meet to earn All-Ohio honors. Last spring, he made it to the regional meet in track and field in the 3200 meter run.
He holds a school record in cross country, running the 5k in 15 minutes, 48 seconds.
"I'm very, very proud of Parker," said Warren cross country coach Debbie Proctor.
"He's worked very hard to get where he is. I think Shawnee State is a perfect fit for him. Him and this coach will mesh well."
Putnam has coached the Bears in cross country and track for nine seasons. Between the two sports, Putnam and Blain will likely be spending a lot of time together over the next four years.
"From everything I've heard and gathered, coach Putnam is an excellent coach and I look forward to working with him," Blain said.
Overall, Blain was impressed by Shawnee State's reputation, which speaks for itself.
"The team, of course, is excellent," Blain said. "They've gone nationals and they're really well-known and respected. I'd love to be a part of it."
In track, Blain currently holds PRs of 2:03 in the 800, 4:36 in the 1600 and 10:01 in the 3200. He will have a chance to break those this spring.
As for college, Blain is leaning towards majoring in environmental engineering, but is not 100 percent sure yet. He said Shawnee State "can expect hard work out of me.
"I expect myself to improve every year."
Blain also considered Rio Grande and Ohio University.