Belpre’s Eli Fullerton captures close HM men’s short course event
PARKERSBURG–The Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon races bring out the best in local and non-local runners. The 2019 2-mile race was no exception to that rule.
When the starting gun fired shortly after 8 a.m., the competitors took off in a mad dash. Near the finish line, a sprint between Belpre High School’s Eli Fullerton and Parkersburg High School’s Franklin Angelos was underway. Fullerton surged ahead the PHS sophomore to win the men’s race in 10:18, two seconds faster than Angelos. Afterward, Fullerton talked about the race and his thought process through those two miles.
“It went pretty good out there,” Fullerton said. “Me and my friends were just trying to set the pace and keep it a close race together there at the end. I could have gone a little bit faster, but I’m also happy with how I started.”
When the Golden Eagle runner participated in last year’s 2-mile race, he came in 4th with a time of 10:39. Fullerton also spoke of the goals he has for the upcoming cross country season, as he looks to use this 2-mile win as a momentum boost.
“It definitely is a boost to my confidence,” Fullerton said of achieving the win.
“It’s going to help me get faster as I go along this season. I’d like to break 16 minutes in the 5k this year, and I’d like to qualify for state again.”
Belpre cross country coach Jen Wells talked about Fullerton’s big day and what the team expects of him going into the 2019-20 season.
“He’s been training all summer long,” she said. “He is ready for cross country season, and this win was just a big step for that. He’s been a crucial part of our program for the last two years. The example that he sets on the team is tremendous, and his work ethic is excellent. He not only expects to qualify for state, but we expect him to be running for a state championship.
Another Big Red rounded out the top 3, as junior Keegan Barnette finished with a time of 10:35. That time was a 12-second improvement from a year ago when Barnette finished 7th. Another Golden Eagle runner made his presence felt, as eighth grader Blake Rodgers finished 4th and crossed the line at 10:48. That was exactly one minute faster than his 2018 time when he finished 10th. That improvement sets him up for a season-long journey in 2019.
“He’s going to hope to follow in the footsteps of Eli. He watches Eli and tries to mimick the effort he puts in,” coach Wells said. “It’s really exciting, because this means the next couple years with him are going to be really fun,”
Parkersburg’s Timothy Bowman finished in the top 5 with a time of 11:14. Warren High School’s Brennan Perdue finished in the six spot at 11:22. Parkersburg South’s Cameron Marks finished in 7th with a time of 11:31. Marietta’s Logan Arnold was one second slower in 8th. Williamstown’s Baylor Haught finished in 9th at 11:35, and Parkersburg’s Aaron Bush claimed a top ten finish at 11:40.
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