Heritage Academy’s one and only cross country runner signed a letter of intent Thursday to take his game to the college level.
Sid Stegall signed a letter of intent to attend Mississippi College, joining head coach Matthew Reneker’s cross country and track and field program. It’s a school and program that he can’t wait to join and one that fits his values as well as his academic and athletic ambitions.
“First off I picked Mississippi College for the school, that was the first thing I considered when I was looking at college,” Stegall said. “The fact that Christ was their center for everything was a huge factor for me, plus an amazing staff and faculty. There are some great guys in their program, Coach Reneker is an awesome coach, and it just feels like home.”
With a small track and field program at Heritage, and no facilities on campus, Stegall has been a standout and leader for a sport that continues to grow in the Patriots community. In addition to those he thanked at Heritage, Stegall thanked coach Lawrence Hill at Columbus High School for his help and the use of Falcons facilities for the track program and Sid’s own training. There Sid trained with his track coach at Heritage, Derrick Beckom, and his father, also named Sid (short for Sidney), who has been a coach as well as a parent for his son.
“It’s been a wonderful experience,” Stegall Sr. said of working with his son. “He’s a great kid and I love working with him, but it’s also tough on days when he’s not having the best day when I have to say, ‘Come on, we’ve got to do a little better.’ That’s tough coming from your dad, not just a coach, so it’s hard sometimes to separate the dad and coach part, but it’s been a wonderful experience, and I would trade the time we’ve had together for anything.”
Stegall has left an impression on Heritage as well, with Beckom crediting him as a leader and valuable member of the track and field team.
“They both are just phenomenal men, and Sid is a hardworking young guy,” Beckom said of the Segalls. “He’s very coachable, everything I ask him to do he does it. Track isn’t much of a team sport, but it is in relays, and Sid did what he needed to do to help the team win in events last season, and I’m excited about the upcoming season as well because I know for his senior year he’s going to finish with a blast.”
Stegall is fresh off of winning the MAIS Class 5A cross country championship a couple weeks ago, taking the title at his soon-to-be home course in Jackson. It was his first cross country win, something he’s wanted for a long time, and getting to do it for Heritage Academy at a Mississippi College hosted meet was a fitting way to do it. He still has his senior track season before leaving a program that’s left a huge impression on him.
“I love Heritage Academy, it’s a family atmosphere,” Stegall said. “Everyone’s been really good to me. Even though I’m the only one here doing cross country, everyone has been behind me and supported me very well. The track program has gotten better through the years, and it’s just been a great time here because everyone is family and everyone helps each other. I’m really grateful for everyone at Heritage and what they’ve done for me.”
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