Ingram-Tipton bond runs deep
When it comes to overall state meet qualifiers, Eisenhower track set itself apart from the other city schools. The Eagles qualified 18 runners for the year's most important meet, setting a foundation for success well into the future.
Here are some Ike tracksters to watch today and Saturday at Yukon High School:
Kaleb Tipton and Miguel Ingram: This duo will compete on the 4x800 team together, but their friendship goes far beyond being relay teammates.
Tipton and Ingram were already good friends, but a series of unfortunate events transformed the two's friendship into a brotherhood.
Although Ingram displayed remarkable success in cross-country and track, things weren't going as well behind the scenes. While all his teammates returned to their homes after school, practices and meets, Ingram didn't have that same luxury.
Ingram found himself homeless and in need of help, and most importantly, a family. As a result, his track times suffered.
"Going through this has been extremely difficult," Ingram said. "Not having anything to eat, not having a place to sleep, those are terrible conditions for running. I feel like my running was impacted quite a bit. At the track meets, I couldn't give 100 percent, and even if I could give 100 percent, it still wasn't up to my best of last year."
That is when Tipton stepped in.
Not only did the senior help Ingram find new digs, but he also set up a GoFundMe account for the Cameron cross-country/track signee during the Oklahoma teacher walkout so Ingram could get the meals he would normally get from the school cafeteria.
In only a month's time, 73 people in the community donated $2,547 to the cause, far surpassing the original goal of $2,000.
"When I first found out about it, I was taking him home to get stuff so he could go to work," Tipton said. "We pulled up to a house, but we didn't go to the house we went to the backyard. Once I saw where he was at, I said, 'We can't be doing this.' (My family) moved him into one of our rental houses that we have for Tipton's Fine Jewelry. Then I made the GoFundMe account, and that's when a lot of the community found out and started to pitch in."
Ingram now views the Tiptons as his own family, and he couldn't be more grateful for the blessings they have given him during a time of crisis.
"In the end, life just happens," Ingram said. "Sometimes you just can't control the things that happen to you. Sometimes you just can't do things you'd like the ability to do. When times get tough, you always have someone to rely on. I couldn't ask for a better family."
Tipton has also learned a valuable lesson from Ingram's situation.
Tipton, who will also compete in the 4x200, 4x400 and the 800-meter run, said it has changed the way he views the world, something that will impact him for the rest of his life.
"As a kid, you don't think about what you don't have, you just focus on what you have, and you want more," Tipton said. "It makes me open eyes to see that's there's other things in life that you can do better at."
As far as the 4x800 relay goes, Ingram is excited to run at the state meet for a third-straight year, though it isn't in an event he normally participates.
He said running on a team has reinforced what he has learned about family and trust.
"The events I normally did were really individual it was based on yourself," Ingram said. "With a team, it was a little weird. Relying on the people around you, you really know who your friends are when things get tough, and I can really count on Kaleb and the rest of the team."
Nicholas Cousin and Wallace Cofield are the other members of the 4x800 team.
Joining Tipton in the 4x400 will be Mark Berry, Derek Coleman and Cofield.
Mark Berry: Aside from Tipton, Berry is the only other boy participating in an individual event.
In addition to being a member of the 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 relays, Berry will also take part in the high jump.
He placed third in the event at the regional meet with a leap of 6 feet, 2 inches, a mark that could put him within medal contention.
"I'm not happy right now I'm trying to medal," Berry said. "I'm just going to keep on grinding and keep on working until the end. I think it'd be a good thing for me to finish with a medal third or better.
To accomplish that, Berry will likely need to surpass 6-04 in the high jump, for that is the probable height for the third-place finisher.
"For the high jump, I'm just going to have to put my hips up and get better and keep practicing," Berry said. "Hard work pays off."
Joining Berry in the 4x100 will be Cousin, Marvin Blaze and Coleman. Antonio Glabreath will compete in the 4x200 in place of Coleman.