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Eagle Strut Posts Record Turnout

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Eagle Strut participants take their positions at the start. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bennett)
From left: Kylie Cooper, junior; Addison Shorter, junior; and Julianne Bowman, freshman, pose with medals after taking first, second, and third place. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bennett)

By Caroline Horne--Eagle Staff Writer

On Sat., Sept. 12 at 8 am, almost 100 runners and walkers took off on a five kilometer course around downtown Rocky Mount.

The Eagle Strut, a 5k race fundraiser for the senior class of Franklin County High School, had more runners participating than ever before.

The turnout was incredible. This is about a 20% increase than in previous years,” said race organizer, senior class sponsor, and science teacher, Jennifer Bennett. “I think it was due to the Covid restrictions-- people were ready to get back to normal and enjoy regular functions.”

It was important for the senior class to be able to comply with regulations and host the race, because the entry fee each participant pays goes toward graduation expenses every spring.

Senior year is a very chaotic and busy year for everyone, so we try to lessen the load on our Representatives and do one big fundraiser--the Eagle Strut--that pays for the majority of senior-related activities throughout the year,” explained Senior Class President, Madeline Sellars.

Runners of all ages were free to register for the race. Andrew Parkins, a visitor, 36, finished first overall at 16.52. Nathan Atchue, a sophomore here, placed fourth overall and second in the 14-19 age range with a time of 18.50. Parker Chapman, sophomore came in third in the same category.

“This year, I ran because there aren’t many races, and it was a fun opportunity to run with my friends,” said Atchue, a cross country runner.

As for the girls, Kylie Cooper, junior, finished first overall with a time of 21.11. Addison Shorter, junior, quickly followed at 21.12, and Julianne Bowman, freshman, clocked in at 24.07.

“I ran the Eagle Strut this year to support the seniors because they need it, especially during a time like this,” said Bowman about her tradition of running the race.

As another graduating class benefits from the tradition of the Eagle Strut, Bennett says she would like to express her gratitude to a community who supports its graduates year after year.

“I would like to thank Mrs. (Amy) Johnson (administrator) and Mr. (Jon) Crutchfield (principal) for allowing us to continue with the Eagle Strut this year. I would also like to thank all of our officers for raising the money we needed and helping out the day of the race," Bennett said. "In addition, I want to say thank you to all the volunteers for making our runners/walkers feel welcome and for cheering them on. And of course, thank you to all the local businesses that sponsored our race. We couldn't have done it without them.”

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