MOSHEIM, Tenn. (WJHL)- In our new digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standout is Colton Fulk, senior on the West Greene football team and in Track & Field.
West Greene football player Colton Fulk was set up to have a big time senior season.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s great,” Fulk said.
Until, you know what, that injury bug hit him pretty hard.
“During my senior season, I broke my thumb and then I ended up still playing with the broken thumb, it just kind of didn’t go the way I planned it but it was still a fun season,” Fulk said.
A tough blow to an important piece of the Buffaloes team.
“I broke it in game 3 and I did not get the cast off until the season was over,” Fulk said.
“He made a heck of a catch in the Unicoi Co. game we thought he had scored but they marked him down at the one (yard-line) but even with the cast or the piece that protects his hand he made a heck of a catch,” West Greene football and track and field head coach Joe Case said.
Kinda tough to catch a football with a big cast on your hand.
“I made a couple, and had an interception against Johnson County but it was still kind of hard to play with the cast,” Fulk said.
But the benefit of being a dual-sport athlete like Colton is when one season ends, he’s got a fresh start at a new season.
“I played football all four years and ran track all four years,” Fulk said. “Feels good to be able to have another chance and pole vault is my happy place.
Pole Vaulting! Of all the sports a football player might learn, could you have guessed pole vaulting would be his choice?
“I ended up just saying I want to do that it’s a big ol’ pole planting and you get to go up there so I wanted to try that and after trying that just fell in love with that,” Fulk said.
“Pole vaulting is kind of an art and I think once he got into it we kinda mentioned it to him a few times and we’ve had success with pole vaulters here,” Case said.
It’s gotta be interesting the first time you vault yourself in the air like that.
“It scared me at first but then I got used to that adrenaline rush and I really liked it,” Fulk said.
“Pole vaulting is kind of scary and I’m always a little weary of it sometimes but he’s done a great job and studied it, it’s a thrill to watch him clear something and see him get excited when he clears heights,” Case said.
He’s had success from the moment he grabbed that pole.
“Late into my sophomore year and then I ended up getting lucky qualifying for regional and qualifying for state and ended up getting 3rd in the state meet my sophomore year and just kind of fell in love with it after that,” Fulk said.
Then went back to the outdoor championships his junior year and became a state champion.
“It was great, went up there expecting to do good and then just doing good always feels good,” Fulk said.
At the same time, the difference between a team sport and an individual sport is an adjustment.
“You feel pressured more to do it on yourself but whenever you succeed by yourself I guess that feeling is a better overall status of you did it,” Fulk said.
But Colton is finding his place now.
“Just feel at peace not having to worry about everything that’s going on,” Fulk said.
Not to mention he’s excelled in his track career too.
“I did triple-jump, long-jump, high-jump and then I started doing the decathlon,” Fulk said.
“The indoor season helps carry you into the outdoor season and he’s just grown leaps and bounds since his freshman year and represents West Greene High School and this community,” Case said.
He’s found a sport he loves.
“You feel like of free just from how I’ve done it with a lot of repetition it just feels kind of natural whenever I vault and it’s just a good feeling,” Fulk said.
Also, a way to finish off a strong athletic career at West Greene.
“It’s just like all the pieces came together,” Fulk said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.