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HCA athlete wins state cross country meet

Heritage Christian Academy took four athletes to the Midsouth Association of Independent Schools’ state cross country meet in late October and left with a state champion.

Dallas Stricker led his team and won the MAIS Class 1A state meet as an eighth grader against high school athletes with a time of 18:29.84.

The other three runners HCA took to state competed in the girls bracket.

Eighth grader Braelynn Spell came in 18th place with a time of 29:09.27.

Seventh grader Abby Collier came in 25th place with a time of 30:16.16.

Eighth grader Kaylee Collier came in 47th place with a time of 34:47.48.

There are two other athletes in the HCA “advanced” cross country team that weren’t able to participate in the state meet because of their ages.

Fifth grader Joshua Johnson and third grader Gavin Spiers rounded out the rest of the squad during this year’s normal competitions.

Coach Greg Johnson said Stricker winning state will help bring in more athletes.

“It was definitely a boost to the school and to the program. There are several kids that are going to be joining track this year and running cross country again next year. The other kids on the team, whether it be on the girls or boys side, all look up to Dallas,” Johnson said.

Johnson is hopeful enough athletes will join to allow the squad to compete as a unit at meets because of the level of success the athletes have been able to have individually.

“Our push right now is to get to five girls and five boys so we can go in and participate in team events. We run individually, but don’t have enough to compete in team events. With the caliber of runners we have, if we were able to compete in team events we’d be able to take home some trophies,” Johnson said.

Competition season isn’t quite yet over since Stricker, Joshua Johnson and Spiers will travel to Tallahassee, Florida Dec. 5 to take part in the AAU Nationals.

After that the athletes will move into the offseason as the majority of the runners begin preparation for the track season.

“We’re kind of in offseason now, but all of the cross country athletes that are eligible are playing soccer and in the offseason we’ll do gym activity like weights,” Johnson said.