HCA cross country outrunning competition

Published 3:53 pm Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Heritage Christian Academy crosscountry team has only competed in two meets, and yet the squad has already had multiple runners with first place finishes.

Head Coach John Stricker has his athletes work out multiple times a week at Crosby Commons, and the work is paying off so far this season.

At the Mobile XC Challenge of Champions held Aug. 29, seventh grade runners Dallas Stricker and Kaylee Collier both took first place in the boys and girls two-mile event.

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Abby Collier finished in fourth place, while fourth grader Joshua Johnson placed in the top 10.

Fourth grader Ean Harper and second grader Gavin Spiers also performed well, and helped the boys team come in second place overall.

Coach Stricker said that the top place finishes provide a confidence boost for his athletes, but that’s not the main goal.

Instead, Stricker uses these competitions to train his athletes for the state meet that takes place in a couple of months. Conditioning is key in any sport, but especially in an endurance sport like crosscountry. 

That’s why Stricker puts so much emphasis on participating in these early meets.

They help the athletes adjust to the pressure of a racing scenario, while also preparing them for the more meaningful races at the end of the year.

Stricker has his athletes go through a variety of challenges during practice to build their endurance.

The workouts can include anything from simple laps around the track, interval training, or other drills.

The team is comprised of students of all ages, not only from Heritage Christian Academy, but also homeschooled kids who have joined the team and are performing well for Stricker and the team.

The second meet of the season was the BSH Sports Meet in Hammond, Louisiana. Once again Stricker had some standout runners with second grader Gavin Spiers, fourth grader Joshua Johnson, and fourth grader Micah Vansomeren performing well.

Additionally, kindergartener Lauren McDonald took second in the girls competition while kindergartener Sterling Smith took first in the boys competition. Dallas Stricker and Kaylee Collier both competed in the varsity race against high school athletes before running in the middle school, two-mile race where Dallas Stricker once again came in first after finishing the varsity race one-hour prior.

Now the team is preparing for their next meet, which will take place September 12 in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.