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Jackson Heights’ Alex Edwards wins KSHSAA Spirit of Sport Award

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 8:29 PM CDT
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HOLTON, Kan. (WIBW) - Alex had his mind set that cross country would be his sport.

“I talked about it with a whole bunch of friends before I even decided to do it.” Alex Edwards, Jackson Heights cross country athlete, said.

But, from the start, it wasn’t an easy journey.

“I know that he was running through pain.” Brad Alley, Jackson Heights cross country coach, said.

“I was out of breath all the time, you know, really couldn’t do anything like run.” Edwards said.

Two years ago, he received the gift of new life. A heart transplant. Edwards wanted to take advantage of the new chance to live. For himself and a friend.

“It’s actually a little bit of a tragic story.”

Shortly before his transplant, Edwards’ best friend Garrett Klahr, died in a car crash. Edwards chose to honor his lost friend through their shared love of running.

“Garrett, that that’s one of the reasons,” Edwards said. “He was a runner for track, cross country, everything.”

So, Edwards began running. And honored his commitment.

“Lots of people think it’s impressive for someone who overcame a surgery, that mass to go do sports, but, you know, I felt like it was pretty normal.” Edwards said.

“It’s an extremely motivating thing,” Alley said. “We always talk about being able to push through pain tolerance. I can point to Alex and say, if this kid can do it, you can too, because his, his situation was way worse than yours.”

And Alex was honored for his battle. He was given the Spirit of Sport award by KSHSAA.

“It was kind of a kind of surprise to me,” Edwards said. “I mean, there was a lot that Mr. Coach, all I wrote about, about me.”

“It means the world to me to be able to coach a kid like Alex,” Alley said. “And he’ll be a kid that I’ll tell stories on for many years.”

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