When he was still in his early teens, Parker Deloye remembers racing his brother Taylor in the back yard.
The elder Deloye won the foot race that day, but with each future race the distance between them got shorter and shorter. And then there was the day Parker caught Taylor.
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"I think it was my freshman or sophomore year that I finally started to grow," Parker said.
The punch line is that is that Taylor Deloye was a track athlete at Valparaiso.
"I had grown up and finally caught him," Parker said.
The younger Deloye had grown, all right. To about 6-foot-5, to be exact, and there would be no catching him. It was his sophomore year when the then-Stevenson student started to blossom into the track and field athlete he is today as a Barrington High School senior.
Deloye qualified for state for the first time as a sophomore in the high jump, clearing a then-personal best 6-5 in winning his first sectional crown. While it wowed the Patriots coaching staff at the time that they had just seen a qualifier in the high jump, his effort also drew a crowd from the Barrington coaching staff as well.
"I had gotten an indication that Parker might be transferring to our school after his sophomore year before the season started," said Barrington coach Todd Kuklinski. "So all of the sudden I kind of had a reason to watch the high jump."
What Kuklinski couldn't see that day was the type of person in Deloye that he would be getting, though he found out quickly when Deloye started working out with the Broncos at the start of his junior year.
"You could tell right away how focused and how hard working a guy he was," Kuklinski said. "He always wanted to get better with each jump or each run."
Deloye immediately became a valuable member of the Broncos team. Though he failed to qualify in his signature high jump event, Deloye did make another trip downstate -- this time on the track.
"I think it was a shock to me at first (that I didn't make it in the high jump)," Deloye said. "It really motivated me to push on and get through in my other events."
The extra motivation worked as Deloye along with teammates Scotty Miller, Brendan Melynchuk and J. P. Brooks earned a trip to state in the 800 relay. The long, tall and somewhat intimidating Deloye was racing in an event usually suited to smaller, less hulking sprinters.
"I kind of like that," Deloye said of his huge stature. "I like to have them look at me and think they can get the best of me because I am so much bigger than they are. Then I run right by them."
Deloye ran by most of the guys he saw last year and in the state prelims as well. His foursome earned a third-place medal – the first downstate placement of his career.
"It's fun to watch him run, but especially to watch him jump," Kuklinski said. "He is so big that he almost blocks out the sun."
The specter of Deloye was so big that even the coaches at Kentucky and Illinois noticed. Initially Kentucky caught his eye, but in the end, the orange and Blue of the Illini will be what suits Deloye for the next four years.
"When coach (Mike) Turk reached out to me all he could talk about was all the things he thought I could do -- flexibility," Deloye said. "He talked about me being a decathlete and he really sold me on the program."
Deloye will attend Illinois in the fall along with Grant standout and future roommate Jonathan Wells.
"I think that's a huge get for Illinois," Kuklinski said.
What Illinois will get in Deloye was a dedicated and hardworking track and field athlete that can handle just about every event on the docket. Whether it is the jumps, middle distance sprints, longer runs or even the throws and javelin, Deloye figures to be the quintessential decathlete.
"He likes to try any and all events," Kuklinski said. "He threw the shot put the other day and tossed it 42 feet without event practicing."
To this year's Barrington team, the value of Deloye is seemingly unmatched. He is one of the top returning high jumpers in the conference but he has also added long jump and the hurdles events to his ever-expanding resume.
"Decathletes are pretty much the greatest athletes in the world," Deloye said. "They are so versatile -- they can do just about anything. I want to be able to do that because it's exciting to try so many different events."
What is quickly becoming his best events are the sprints. Unusual, really, considering a 6-5 sprinter isn't that common on the high school level. But perhaps the world stage seems to be a better comparison.
World record holder and two-time gold medalist Usain Bolt of Jamaica is the number one sprinter Deloye looks up to and likes to model himself after.
"Every time he runs, he leaves an impact," Deloye said. "That what I like to do when I run and compete. I want to leave an impact on the guys I race against."
One area in which Deloye and his Broncos teammates are trying to leaving a lasting image is the trophy case. Not since 1991 has a team from the Mid-Suburban League won a trophy. Deloye and the Broncos look to end that drought this spring.
"We have talked about it a lot but we know there is still a long way to go," he said. "We know that it hasn't been done in a while so we want to be that team to leave an impact."