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Stroud flourished during the senior season at Neshoba Central

June 18 – Jackson Stroud, a graduate of Neshoba Central, started cross country in his freshman year at school, then hired a running coach ahead of his senior cross country season in the fall of 2021.

The signs were already there that he would excel as a senior, as Stroud finished No. 1 in the Mississippi State Games 2021 5K road race with a time of 17:56.9 – over a minute. complete faster than second place last summer.

“He just blossomed and took off, and then in his senior year he was winning competitions and pretty much placing first and second in everything he did,” said his mother, Lee Ann Stroud.

Jackson Stroud capped off his high school cross-country career with a ninth-place finish at MHSAA Class 5A State with a time of 17:26.4. Due to his strong performance throughout the fall, Stroud was named the 2021 Premier Preps Cross Country Male Athlete of the Year.

After graduating from high school, Stroud joined the U.S. Army Reserve and is currently at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC undergoing basic training, so he was unavailable for comment. Lee Ann Stroud, however, said her son would be honored to hear the news.

“I just can’t say enough good things about her,” said Lee Ann Stroud. “He made us very proud.”

Lee Ann Stroud described her son as someone who walks to the beat of his own drum, and running was both a way to relax and interact with people and to practice his Christian faith.

“It clears his mind and he prays as he runs,” said Lee Ann Stroud. “He also stops to talk to people when he runs.”

After working with a running coach, Lee Ann Stroud said it was wonderful to see her son improve dramatically in the sport.

“We were amazed at his progress, and it was great to see,” said Lee Ann Stroud.

In addition to cross country, Jackson Stroud competed in track and field in the spring, and he was an all-A student his senior year. He also participated in the JROTC program at Neshoba Central, which sparked an interest in entering the military after high school.

“One thing that I really appreciate is that he wanted to go to college without a student loan and without his parents’ help, and he was obligated and determined to do that,” Lee Ann Stroud said.

Running was also helpful in preparing Jackson Stroud for basic training.

“His recruiter and his JROTC instructor at school both told him not to let them know what he had,” Lee Ann Stroud said with a laugh. “They said he should hold back a bit or they would kill him.”

Jackson Stroud often led weekend Bible studies, and his long-term goal after completing his six-year term in the Army is to fully enlist and become an Army chaplain.