Strides to Success


Everyone is more successful with someone on their side, for the Spring Hill cross country team that “someone” is a dog. Strider, Coach Alford’s dog, has become a mascot for the team and a symbol in the Spring Hill community. From racing alongside the runners during meets and practice to raising the general moral of the team, Strider is always there to support anyone who needs it and acts as an important member of the team.


December 7, 2016, Coach Alford and her husband received a Facebook message regarding a litter of puppies dropped off on the side of highway 726. “he showed me the picture and I wasn’t too sure about them, but we decided after church to go look at them.. and well we fell in love with the fuzzy little one.” Alford recalls. “We took her home and well, the rest is history.” Being described as a “pure mutt” by sophomore runner, David McFatridge, Strider is a lovable black and white ball of energy, approximately three years old. Being around four to five weeks old when she was adopted into the Alford family, Strider has grown up alongside the family and team as well.


Strider attends many of the sport games and practices at Spring Hill such as soccer, baseball, softball, track and cross country meets. “She is there right alongside me [and] sometimes she runs with me or [the team] at practices.” Alford replies when asked what Strider does at the cross country meets. In addition to practicing with the team, Strider even ran in a race last year. “Her guys passed [by us] and I let [her] off the leash and before I knew it she was racing with the [junior high] boys until someone stopped her” Alford describes. Strider also has a reflective vest and team uniform made by a former teacher for when she runs. “She is just another teammate.” Coach Alford states about Strider’s position on the team.


The value Strider holds to Coach Alford and the cross country team is immeasurable. “[She] has been my side kick since day one. Every time I have been down, she never leaves my side. There is just something about her that makes people smile.” Alford says. “On hard days the dog really helps.” David adds. Not only has Strider positively impacted the runners and coach, she has become a public figure to Spring Hill. “When we go places we get people asking is we are Striders owners or when my husband use to pick me up when I couldn’t drive, he would drive through campus as school let out and kids [would] yell “Hi Strider” everywhere he went.” Strider has truly become the Spring Hill community mascot, running into everyone’s hearts.     


It has been said many times that a dog is man’s best friend. This holds true for Strider and the cross country team. In the last two years, Strider has left a PAW print on everyone she meets, becoming a true symbol for motivation and happiness around the community and the school.