By Payton Moody
With a dedication to improvement and a supportive team, Elijah Parker, a student at Durant High School, has made significant strides in his cross-country career.
Parker’s favorite coach, Coach Reynolds, has left a lasting impact on him as both a runner and a person. “She’s inspired me to better myself as a runner and a person,” he said.
Madison Roper, a fellow runner on the team, holds a special place in Parker’s heart. Her dedication and achievements have made her an admirable figure in his cross-country journey.
Parker’s favorite teacher is Mr. Gregg, his band director since the 6th grade. While not directly related to cross country, Gregg has played a significant role in his life, imparting valuable lessons and support.
For the off-season preparation, Parker notes, “This off-season, we had summer practices at the high school.” These sessions were crucial in preparing him for the upcoming cross-country season. Cross country has taught Parker the importance of hard work and giving one’s all. “Cross country has taught me that hard work and giving your all will always beat natural talent,” he said.
Parker’s initial goal for the season was to break the 20:00-minute barrier, a milestone he has successfully achieved. With this achievement under his belt, he now aims for an even lower time, setting his sights on a sub-19:00 time.
Although he’s new to the sport and might not know many teams, Parker expresses his excitement for upcoming matchups: “I’m excited for regionals.”
After high school, Parker envisions a path in the medical field. “I plan to go to college to become a nurse practitioner,” Parker said.
Elijah Parker’s journey in cross country is marked by determination, personal growth, and the support of his community. His continued commitment to improvement and dedication to his sport set the stage for an exciting upcoming season and a promising future in healthcare.