2021 All Scholastic Sports Team: Josh Eakes
COLLINSVILLE, Miss. (WTOK) - Moving can be a difficult transition for anyone, but imagine having to do so midway through your freshman year of high school.
That is what happened to West Lauderdale’s Josh Eakes.
Even as the new kid from Indiana, Eakes took a leap of faith and chose to tryout for West Lauderdale’s soccer team.
“It was a big transition but there were a lot of nice people,” Eakes said about his decision to tryout. “I really liked the coaches and I met a lot of teammates and students that way.”
During his sophomore year, Eakes and West Lauderdale’s boys soccer team made it all the way to the MHSAA 4A State Championship. The Knights unfortunately would fall to Richland 2-1 in the contest, but Eakes said the experience is something he’ll never forget.
“It was great, especially getting to do it sophomore year when I was kind of young in high school,” Eakes said. “It was really cool and we had all the seniors there. They were all really pumped because it was something they looked forward to. You could just feel the energy…it was amazing.”
To stay in shape for soccer in the offseason, Eakes took up cross country his sophomore year. He said it was challenging but still chose to stick with it.
His commitment to the sport paid off this past season when he significantly decreased his 5K time.
“One of my proudest moments is breaking 19 minutes,” Eakes said. “That was my whole goal this year was to just get one race under 19 minutes. It happened at the state championship so I was really happy.”
West Lauderdale cross country coach Paul Shelly has watched Eakes grow from a shy freshman to one of the team’s leaders this past season. He said Eakes played a big role in the success the team had this season.
“He finished second in the district meet and had a personal best as a senior at the state meet, which helped us finish fourth overall in the state,” Shelly said. “Runners like being around him, all his teammates love him and that really builds the moral of the team which is so important.”
Eakes achievements aren’t limited to athletics. He has a 4.22 GPA and is ranked first in a graduating class of 142 students.
Shauna Waters taught Eakes in Spanish when he moved to Mississippi. She is now his AP English literature teacher and said Eakes is still the same stellar student he was as a freshman.
“He always does his work. He always has a really good, well thought out answer. He writes beautifully,” Waters said. “He’s also very creative so his group is always going to come up with something that is a great project and is interesting and humorous. He’s just great to have in class.”
While Eakes excels in English, he said his favorite subject his math, which he’ll be using a lot of next year with what he plans to study in college.
“I’m planning on going to Mississippi State. My focus right now is going to be engineering. That’s the field I want to go into,” Eakes said. “I feel like I’ve been prepared well by my teachers here, especially Ms. Waters and Mr. Caldwell, for the advanced classes I’m going to be taking.”
Eakes also scored a 34 on his ACT, is part of National Honor Society and attends Midway Baptist Church where he partakes in the church’s youth group.
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