Pear­son solid for SSHS girls

■ She’s helped the Lady Pan­thers win three straight state ti­tles.

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - SPORTS - By Gra­ham Thomas Staff Writer gth­ ■

Al­lika Pear­son isn’t driven by state cham­pi­onship rings.

In fact, the three rings she’s re­ceived for be­ing part of the Siloam Springs girls cross coun­try team’s back-to-back-to-back 6A state ti­tles in 2014, 2015 and 2016 are still in a box on a shelf at home.

So when the Lady Pan­thers run in this year’s 6A State Meet at 3:45 p.m. on Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs, win­ning an­other ring isn’t what is on her mind.

“It’s not a big drive for me,” said Pear­son, a se­nior. “Just cel­e­brat­ing with a team that’s good at what they do. Some­times I do it be­cause I have a drive, be­cause a lot of peo­ple say cross coun­try isn’t a sport. But we win state, so there’s got to be some­thing there. I just re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate how good peo­ple are around me. I want them to do well at state so they can be happy.”

Pear­son will be the only se­nior run­ning for the Lady Pan­thers on Fri­day at the state meet. She’ll be joined by ju­niors Chloe McGooden, Brit­tany Pilcher, sopho­mores Chloe Maxwell, Clau­dia Mer­cado, Kai­ley Pentz, Rebecca Rodgers and fresh­men Syd­ney Moor­man and Ash­lyn Walker.

“Al­lika’s a great leader as far as she’s go­ing to do ex­actly what you want her to do in prac­tice,” said Siloam Springs head coach Sharon Jones. “She’s al­ways go­ing to set our pace.”

Pear­son just recorded a new per­sonal record in last week’s 6A-West Con­fer­ence Meet with a time of 20 min­utes, 43.44 sec­onds.

“She’s run­ning well,” Jones said. “She PRed last week. I ex­pect her to PR again this week. I think she’ll be the top of the pack. She’ll do what she sets out to do. She is such a good pace run­ner too. She is able to fo­cus. No mat­ter what ev­ery­body else is do­ing in the race, she’s able to fo­cus on what she knows she needs to do.”

Pear­son comes from a run­ning fam­ily. Her dad, Matt, is a run­ner and was the cross coun­try coach at John Brown. Her brother, El­liott, is a cur­rent JBU cross coun­try run­ner and for­mer Siloam Springs stand­out.

Jones said Pear­son is likely head­ing to John Brown as well.

“Arkansas State re­ally pur­sued her early,” Jones said. “Smaller schools have sin­gled her out, but she wants to go to JBU.

NOTES: The fol­low­ing boys will par­tic­i­pate for Siloam Springs in the 6A State Boys Meet at 3:15 p.m.: Se­niors Isaac Leach­man and Caleb El­lis, ju­nior Sa­muel Gran­der­son, sopho­mores Ker­rig Kelly, Adam Kennedy, Isaac Price and Ran­som Van Asche and fresh­men Michael Cape­hart and Blake Mor­ri­sion.

Bud Sullins/Spe­cial to the Her­ald-Leader

Siloam Springs se­nior Al­lika Pear­son hopes to lead the Lady Pan­thers to their fourth straight Class 6A cross coun­try cham­pi­onship on Fri­day at Oak­lawn Park in Hot Springs.

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