Defying the odds: Mykell Strickland earns scholarship to run at Clayton State despite just two years running track

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2023

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Callaway track and field is on the rise. In the last week, Callaway has had two track and field stars signed to run at the next level and now, a third has signed to run in college. Mykell Strickland is making the leap to the next level, signing to run at Clayton State University.

“The coaches, the campus, everything was just exactly what I was looking for,” Strickland said. “I knew last year when I started to fall in love with running that I wanted to try and run track in college.

“The people at Callaway (track and field) made me feel at home out there, and I loved how competitive of an environment it is.”

It has been a meteoric rise for the track and field star, who did not come out for the team until his junior season. It was not long before he was blazing past the competition and regularly earning medals and podium placements. Having a signing day for college is something he always dreamed about but never thought would be possible when he first came out for the team.

“This is very crazy because I have always dreamed about having a signing day since I was a little kid,” Strickland said. 

When running track, Strickland specializes in the 400 meter dash and 800 meter dash, but he is a versatile runner. He was also a member of the cross country team, a sport he did not try until his junior year. He fell in love with running, and the “zoning out” that comes with running long distances like in cross country, earning the title of fastest cross country runner in the county earlier this season when he outpaced runners from Callaway, Lafayette Christian, LaGrange, LaGrange Academy and Troup.

Strickland’s cross country career is not going to end at Callaway as his athletic scholarship is for both track and cross country.

Strickland stepped up in a big way this season and served as a role model and a leader for the younger players on the track and field team.

“Mykell is a hard worker, and you don’t have to ask him to do too much because he knows what it means to be a leader,” Callaway track coach Andre Johnson said. “I would come to practice, and he would already be dressed out running and broke a sweat.”

Strickland faced some adversity during his short track and field career at Callaway. He had to battle back from a stress fracture in his lower right leg that made him lose two months of his career. 

“It was tough,” Strickland said. “It was hard to get back out there because it still hurt, and I had to learn to trust my leg again.” 

Strickland fought back to become one of the most important Cavaliers track stars. Now, he serves as an example for the younger Cavaliers that no matter when you first try out, if you give it your all, you can make your dreams come true.