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New HCA athletic director ready to help school grow

John Stricker has been coaching for over 25 years, and he’s ready to use that expertise to help Heritage Christian Academy grow as the new athletic director of the local faith-based private school.

Stricker has been at HCA for three years coaching cross country and track, and as time progressed he was able to instill some of his own principles in his pupils.

Athletics are important, but for Stricker connecting sports to spirituality is his number one goal.

“It allows me to instill some of the mottos and spiritual aspects of connecting the Bible to sports. If you can connect a running scripture to a running day then that’s the most important part,” Stricker said.

The coach has seen the school continue to grow, an aspect that led to the addition of more sporting programs offered on campus.

As the numbers have increased more programs have been introduced and this upcoming year it looks like soccer will be the new sport students at HCA can take part in.

“I see kids in the hall and I get feedback. Last year it was about soccer and that’s why I’m leaning towards soccer, and soccer is an up and coming sport,” Stricker said.

Stricker is taking over in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the summer offseason for programs has been anything but normal.

The cross country and track and field teams have resumed running workouts that are voluntary, which Stricker said will be the case with all of the athletic programs over the summer.

HCA’s coaches have been hard at work making sure parents understand the possibility of summer activities exists, even with current guidelines in place from the state.  “Our coaches are pushing, advertising and letting parents know there’s something out there to keep the kids going. We have a lot of passionate coaches that are coming out on their own time,” Stricker said.

Right now the athletic programs are moving forward under the assumption that school will restart normally.

However, given the uncertainty concerning a treatment and vaccine for the virus, along with a possible second wave of cases, Stricker said the programs would have to be able to adapt to any challenges that come up.

States are taking varying approaches to the virus, so right now HCA is playing the waiting game when it comes to understanding what athletics will look like in the fall. “New York might not be able to play any sports in school this year, but Mississippi might be ok. That’s the challenging part. We’re going to have to follow the guidelines and do whatever the school or CDC says,” Stricker said.