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HCA athletics moving forward as school begins

Classes are set to begin Thursday for Heritage Christian Academy and the school’s Athletic Director John Stricker said the sports programs are preparing for a fall start.

The Midsouth Association of Independent Schools, the governing body over HCA, said fast pitch softball, volleyball and soccer could begin July 31 with the first play dates for football taking place August 21.

This means HCA’s cross country, swim and incoming soccer programs will be starting up again this fall with health guidelines in place.

In addition to those fall sports, Stricker said there has been some interest in starting a dance program at the school so a fall start date for that is being considered as well.

The athletes will be under strict health guidelines to ensure their safety as they practice and compete.

Stricker said temperatures are being taken and social distancing encouraged during the school day, while also placing an increased emphasis on parents making sure their children are symptom free before sending them to school.

While the environment in which these sports will take place is unusual, Stricker said the goal is to try and create a sense of normalcy for the children.

“MAIS seems to have a feeling that their schools are wanting to get back with normal activities in general, so we’re going to try and get into normal activities and at the same time I’m trying to start new programs like the soccer program,” Stricker said.

Swim and cross country have had summer workouts as a way to draw interest in the programs before the school year starts.

Stricker said the hope is to give children the opportunity to gain experience in a specific sport before the start of the season so they can choose whether or not to join the team.

Volunteer coaches and parents who help run the programs are allowing HCA to increase its sporting diversity as the school continues adding grade levels with each passing year.
“Without the coaches and volunteers it would be hard for HCA to grow like it’s growing with our sports programs. We’re very blessed to have parents that put in their time, energy and effort into helping the school grow,” Stricker said.

Stricker said the school is looking to possibly compete in some local cross country or swim meets as well, so if schools are interested to get in contact with him.

Finding competitions around the state will be harder due to COVID-19 restrictions and some athletic programs being delayed, so Stricker is hoping HCA can compete against some local schools as well this year.

“We might not have enough (athletes) to compete in the MAIS leagues, but we’ll be able to compete against other organizations. With spring sports I’m anticipating it’s going to be a little more relaxed, but right now we’re not knowing what next month is going to bring,” Stricker said.