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story.lead_photo.caption Bud Sullins/Special to Siloam Sunday Siloam Springs senior Allika Pearson signed Wednesday to run cross country at John Brown University in Siloam Springs. Pictured are: Front from left, father Matt Pearson, Allika Pearson, mother Kirsten Pearson; back, JBU head coach Scott Schochler and Siloam Springs head cross country coach Sharon Jones.

Allika Pearson is continuing the family tradition of running cross country at John Brown.

Pearson, a senior for Siloam Springs, signed a letter of intent Wednesday with the Golden Eagles, joining her brother Elliott Pearson, who's also a former Siloam Springs standout, and cousin Nathan Pearson on roster.

Allika Pearson's father, Matt Pearson, was a former JBU runner as well and helped resurrect the cross country program several years ago, and her grandfather worked there as well.

"Allika may have been the easiest recruit I've ever worked with," said JBU coach Scott Schochler. "There's been a Pearson on campus at JBU for, basically, almost 60 straight years."

Allika Pearson said her decision to run at JBU was an easy one.

"I just didn't look anywhere else," she said. "I've grown up going to different JBU events, just running around the campus. I wanted to go there."

Siloam Springs coach Sharon Jones said several schools showed interest in Pearson.

"I've forwarded her emails from lots of coaches," Jones said. "I think she's had her heart set on JBU, probably since she was a little girl. I think it's neat. Her dad ran there. Her brother's running there. It's a family tradition. I think she is totally sold out on running there, so she's excited. And he's getting a good one. Allika's good. She is one of the hardest workers we've ever had."

Pearson was a member of four state championship teams in her four years at Siloam Springs High School. She moved up to the varsity roster at the end of her freshman year in 2014 and was a key contributor in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

She ran her career-best time of 20 minutes, 43.44 seconds at the 6A-West Conference meet this past year.

"She's still got a lot of room for improvement, even though she's a very solid runner," Schochler said. "She knows what it takes to be a part of a very successful program, having been part of four state championship teams in high school cross country. She's going to give us that perspective of a winning team and just consistency and solid performances for us."

Sports on 02/11/2018

Print Headline: Pearson to continue family tradition at John Brown

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