Tiger Sharks head for college athletic career

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Two Port St. Joe seniors made sure that they will continue their cross country careers next year after signing college scholarships this past week. 

On Tuesday, May 3, Parker Hicks officially committed to Marion Military Institute, a junior college located in Marion, Alabama, about one and a half hours west of Montgomery. 

Founded in 1842, Marion, the official state military college of Alabama, is the oldest military junior college in the nation. 

Hicks was a standout on the Tiger Shark cross country team in the fall, running for a personal best 5K time of 18:30, and is currently a state-qualifying runner in both the 800 meter race and the 4x400 relay team. Next year, he will be running as simply a Tiger. 

“Parker is such a positive guy. He is the most honest person I have coached. His integrity is second to none, and he simply makes the people around him better,” said T.C. Brewer, his cross country coach. 

On Friday, May 6, one of Parker’s teammates, Kristen Bouington, chose to become an Argonaut at the University of West Florida in Pensacola. At 1,600 acres, West Florida occupies the third largest campus in the state university system. 

Like Hicks, Bouington ran cross country in the fall and also qualified for the state finals in Gainesville. She recently ran her personal best times at the regional meet in Jacksonville in both the 800 meter and 1600 meter runs. 

In calling the gathering together at the school library, Coach Tracy Browning said that Kristen was “a great kid, one who will be a success in life.” 

Sporting a green University of West Florida t-shirt and flanked by her parents and coaches, Kristen paid tribute to everyone who had contributed to her success. 

Her mother, Angela Bouington, thanked Kristen’s teachers, coaches, and teammates, whom she called “an awesome group of young people.” 

Both Parker and Kristen, along with 12 other Tiger Shark track and field athletes, will compete at the 1A state finals in Gainesville on Wednesday, May 4.

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