Solon senior Greg Parries is one of the fastest runners in Ohio, finishing on the Division I state podium in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes as a junior last spring. But his passion is on the gridiron.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound wide receiver for the Comets made his commitment March 18 to continue his football career with the Yellow Jackets at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea.
Parries said he also considered Mount Union and Walsh universities, as well as Miami University for track and field.
“I really like football, but, if I had the opportunity to run track and a high-level school, then I was going to take the opportunity,” he said. “But my passion is with football. So, I really want to play football.
“And I know a couple people at Baldwin Wallace. I just really like the school. I like the campus. And the coaches; I really like the coaches as well.”
One of Parries’ Solon buddies, fellow senior receiver Caleb Sinclair, will also attend BWU with the possibility of walking on the football team, Parries said.
During his senior season this past fall, Parries tallied 47 receptions for 539 yards and five touchdowns, including an 80-yard end-zone find in the Comets’ 31-14 win against Shaker Heights – coming 1-yard shy of Mike Studer’s 2003 program mark on that reception.
Parries also had seven kickoff returns for 293 yards, with a 93-yard touchdown to open the second half of Solon’s 33-22 victory against Strongsville. The Comets finished 8-3 with their program’s 23rd playoff berth, including sixth in the past seven seasons.
“The entire team and I got way closer this year,” Parries said. “We would always just go out to like B-dubs and go out somewhere to eat, and I think that contributed to our success a lot. Just creating those bonds, we were able to trust each other more, and we were able to make the playoffs, and I think we should have went further, though.”
The region No. 5-seed Comets owned a 25-14 lead in the fourth-quarter of a road battle against No. 4-seed Canton McKinley (9-3), but the Bulldogs rallied with two late touchdowns to take the lead, 29-25, with 1:30 to play.
On a third-and-17 play from their own 43, the Comets drew up a hook-and-ladder lateral on a 15-yard completion from junior Pat McQuaide to senior Ethan Wong, but the lateral attempt to Parries was fumbled and recovered by McKinley with 38 seconds remaining. If the lateral was completed to Parries, the fastest guy on the field would have had an open lane to the end zone.
“That was tough,” Parries said. “They’re a good team. They have some good receivers. But they were definitely beatable. We should have beat them, in my opinion. But, you know, it didn’t happen.”
Also a defensive back, Parries tallied 12 tackles, including seven solos, with an interception and a fumble recovery during the 2019 season.
But BW third-year head coach Jim Hilvert, who led the Yellow Jackets to a 7-3 record in 2019, including a 17-10 loss against Division III NCAA No. 10-ranked John Carroll, recruited Parries for his speed as a receiver and kick returner.
Parries’ lifetime bests include 10.91 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 22.06 seconds in the 200 dash and, during indoor season, 7.04 seconds in the 60 dash. Not to mention, he was on the Comets’ four-by-100 relay that clocked 42.06 seconds to finish third at the 2019 state
“He came up to the school like two or three times to see me,” Parries said of Hilvert. “He runs like a spread offense, and he just said he wants to utilize my speed to the best he can. So, yeah, he said I’d just fit in with their offense, really.
“But I’ve got a lot of things to work on, like my strength overall. I need to be in the weight room to gain a lot more weight and get a lot stronger. My catching can improve. There’s a lot of things I can improve on. So, I’m just going to keep working towards it.”
Parries said that Dan Iwan, Solon head track and field coach, as well as wide receiver coach for football, has always pushed him to get better and believed in him throughout his time at Solon.
But Parries originally started playing football in kindergarten through the Bedford youth system, before he moved to Solon in fourth grade and he became a part of the Solon Saturns youth program.
“It was hard at first, because I just wasn’t used to it, and I had to make new friends, but it turned out for the best,” he said. “I’m glad that we moved here. I’m really happy with the school. Really just the bonds that I made with the friends that I made, and football actually helped me make friends. When I first moved here, I really didn’t know anyone. But then I started knowing people from Saturns and stuff like that – football camps.”
In terms of his college search, Parries said his parents helped him the most, just giving their input and opinions on what decision would be best for him.
The opportunity for Parries to continue his football career at a university not to far from home, which affords his parents the ability to see him play, was one of the major draws to BW, he said.
But Parries plans to major in engineering, just like his uncle, and the academic piece of BW adding a new engineering facility also sold him on his decision, he said.
“Everyone was happy for me,” Parries said. “I got a lot of love and everything with everyone telling me congratulations and stuff like that. So, yeah, I got a lot of good reactions from my friends and family and a lot of love.”