Eric Hacker has confirmed with MileSplit that he's verbally committed to Shawnee State University to continue his running career by suiting up for cross country competition, as well as distance track events. He's set to officially ink his paperwork with the Bears on December 4th.
Hacker, from Unioto, helped the Shermans to a runner-up finish at the OHSAA Division 2 State Championship meet in what was his third consecutive appearance at the end-of-season showcase. Individually, Hacker placed thirty-first with a 16:29.60 clocking.
Beyond the athletics realm, one of the many interesting and unique aspects about Hacker is that he's faced challenges throughout life that very few of his fellow competitors out on the XC course could relate to. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he turned 1-year-old and he wore leg braces from the age of 14 months up until the beginning of middle school.
Don't think that this set-back deterred Eric, though. Through a lot of hard work and dedication over the years, he eventually developed into one of Ohio's top Division 2 runners. His resume is highlighted by a 5k cross country pr of 16:16.25 to go along with trips to the OATCCC Indoor Championship and the OHSAA Outdoor Championship, both during his junior year. On the track, Hacker contests the 800, 1600 and 3200, with the 3200 being his forte.
Hacker shared with MileSplit that he's looking forward to having a successful career at Shawnee State and that it's his dream, in the future, to represent the USA at the Paralympic Games.
Unioto coach Matt Paxton, provided some further insight on Eric.
"Eric is one of the hardest working athletes I have ever worked with. When he started in 6th grade running with us, he was very physically challenged and we weren't sure he could ever run at all. He had leg braces below his knees that he wore all the time, which prevented him from running very much."
"He has worked and worked and now he has become a 1500-3000 national junior champion for the Paralympics, a cross country qualifier, an indoor and outdoor track qualifier to state, and earned all-Ohio status for indoor track."
"He is also in our National Honor Society. Eric never misses a day and has been extremely coachable. This year he improved from 54th to 31st at state in cross country, which was huge in leading his team to a state runner-up finish."
We, at MileSplit, wish Eric the best of luck with all of his athletic pursuits and we'll be monitoring his progress closely.