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Norwalk grad helps Mount Union to national crown

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jun 16, 2014 at 6:07 PM

   Tyler Sparks seems to have an appropriate name.

   The 2012 Norwalk High School graduate, who now attends Mount Union, was a four-year letter winner for track.

   Sparks, who just completed his sophomore season for the Purple Raiders and his teammates at Mount Union won the Division III 1600 meter relay title at the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Championship at Ohio Wesleyan University in May.

   They swept indoor and outdoor national titles in the event with a school record and stadium record time of 3:09.81.

   The meet came down to the 1600 relay, with Mount Union ahead of Augustana by a single point.

   The Purple Raiders, who won their first track and field national title, tallied 47 total points, which was five points ahead of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.

   North Central (Ill.) was in third place with 35 points.

   Mount Union placed sixth in the event last year.

   “I was really nervous before going into it,” Sparks said. “But Chase [Swisher] just said, ‘There’s nothing to worry about. We don’t lose 4x4s.’ That was the mentality. We were confident we could beat Wisconsin Lacrosse, but Augustana was the team to beat.”

   While attending NHS, Sparks was MVP of the track team during his junior and senior years.

   The Truckers won the Northern Ohio League both years.

   He was also involved in football, wrestling, cross country and was a member of the Environmental Science Club.

   Sparks, who is majoring in psychology, has a dream job of working in the industrial organizational psychology field.

   “It’s a lot like human resources, but you have to go to graduate school,” he said.

   Mount Union was also the winner in the indoor 1600 meter relay in March.

   Sparks has also won the 500 meter dash at the Ohio Athletic Conference indoor both years he has attended Mount Union.

   He set the school record this year with a time of 1:05.6.

   His team earned All-OAC honors when he placed second in the 1600 meter relay with 3:22.98.

   The team also set a school record at the 800 relay at the OAC coming in at 1:28.91.

   Sparks said the goal for next year is to “bring in some good recruits and keep winning.”

   EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Reflector Correspondent Logan Greszler.

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