Alex Stradinger, Jackson Prep's Star Distance Runner

Alex Stradinger has always had a love-hate relationship with running ever since middle school. "My dad made me join the cross country team in 6th grade and I hated it at first."

Alex has been a part of the Jackson Preparatory's track team since he came to school in the 9th grade. His favorite event is the 4x8 relay, but he would also compete in the 800, 4x4 relay, and the 3200 meters.

"I was disappointed that the season was canceled because it was my last time to run. What I miss the most is the social aspect of track meets, since I'm not able to see friends from other schools or race with them one last time."

Running had shaped him into the person that he is today by teaching him to be gritty when it comes to practice and races. "In order to run you need to have the mental and physical strength. I've learned that when you fail it's a step to success, and I believe that plays a part in my go-getter attitude and being a hard worker."

Alex says his best ran he ran was his junior year at the cross country state championship hosted at Choctaw Trails. "My teammate, Preston Speed, and I were running close together, and right when we jumped over the concrete section on the straightaway to the finish line I saw four guys close behind. I knew it was time to go, so I sprinted up the hill and placed 2nd; it was one of my best races and 5k time of the season."

When asked what coach impacted him in his high school career it would be the distance track and cross coach Daniel Burnett. "He was a huge influence on me. My cross country senior season was not my best year, but Coach Burnett helped me hang in there by motivating me and giving advice. It was nice to relate to someone, as he had a similar season to mine when he was a senior running for Mississippi College. He's an incredible coach; some of the best lessons he taught me was to suck it up and get the work done, along with putting your best effort forward."

Besides running track, Alex also on the tennis, cross country, and soccer team. "Running has helped me in other sports because it taught me perseverance; I've learned to push through the pain and being able to train at a higher level."

Alex has decided to enroll at the University of Mississippi and plans on majoring in accounting. "The reason why I decided to attend Ole Miss was not just financially, but of the amazing opportunity to go in accounting, being selected into Honors college, and knowing there are some great people on campus."

He's not sure what he will do after college but looks forward to seeing where his four years take him. Once the pandemic blows over, Alex would want to travel abroad to Europe or China.

Alex's advice to any runners is to have a positive outlook on the sport. "I was not able to enjoy races because of my nerves, so when you run I recommend thinking of the positives instead of the negatives. Some will start to burn out and feel the pressure in their junior and senior year of high school, but try to see what running can do in your life. It's the sport that keeps on giving because you're never too old to run, so don't take it for granted."