“Once we got her healthy her junior and senior years and got her on a real training regimen, she has just flourished and excelled, and she just gets stronger each season that she’s run,” said Leslee Bradley, the head coach of the track program at Elizabethton High School. “She loves track and does cross country because it makes her stronger for track but is such a phenomenal athlete that she’s great at both.”
Feutchenberger has decided to compete for the East Tennessee State University track team when she graduates and participated in a public signing at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Elizabethton High School.
Milligan College and ETSU were two of Feutchenberger’s options when she was assessing colleges, but when she toured the ETSU program, she knew that was where she wanted to go.
“I really wanted to stay close to home,” she said. “I didn’t really know that until I really went out there, but I really wanted to stay close to home.”
Both of Feutchenberger’s parents are alumni at ETSU, but she said neither one of them competed in track while in college.
“My dad was a soccer coach for me and so I was a really good runner and so that kind of made me think I can do track,” she said.
Feutchenberger is a middle distance runner, with the 400m, 800m and 1600m all being within her range, but Bradley said Feutchenberger has been so competitive at the high school level that she’s been able to compete in shorter distance races as well. At the moment, she holds five records at Elizabethton High School in events that include the 400m, the 800m and the 1600m.
This year, Feutchenberger finished 10th in the state in cross country and third in both the 800m and with her distance medley relay team at the State Indoor meet.
George Watts, the director of cross country and track and field at ETSU, said Feutchenberger is one of several in-state students that will join the program this year.
“Anytime I have an opportunity to recruit a local person, whether they have a lot of talent or some talent, I try to do that,” Watts said. “If you look at our roster on the men’s and women’s side you’ll see we have quite a few kids from the state of Tennessee and a few kids from the area.”
After touring the ETSU program, Feutchenberger noticed that the university and Elizabethton High School shared a relatively similar training program, one that made her feel like the teams had similar styles.
“It’s working here, and I think it’ll work there,” she said. “I just can’t wait to get better.”
According to tn.milesplit.com, Feutchenberger’s personal record for the 400m is 58.24 and her personal record for the 800m is 2:16.70.
In a speech Friday at Feutchenberger’s signing, Bradley described Feutchenberger as the Elizabeth High School track team’s GOAT, an acronym standing for the “Greatest of All Time.”
“I would definitely argue that Heather is the greatest female runner of all time in (Elizabethton High School) history,” she said.