By MEGAN PARKER Times Editor
If given the chance for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, would you reach out and take it? One Powell County High student has been given such an opportunity. Avery Fulks, a 15 year freshman at PCHS, has been invited to participate in the Down Under Sports Tournament which will be held on the Golden Coast of Australia. Fulks will be be participating in this international event as a member of the East Conference Cross Country Team during the summer of 2017. So how did such an opportunity come about? Over the summer Fulks joined the PCHS track and cross country team to stay in shape before the upcoming basketball season. “I liked it so much that I decided to stick with it,” she said. Fulks set her personal record of 29:31 (3 miles) at the KHSAA meet back in November, and so far has attended almost every workout this winter to prepare herself for the upcoming season. “She is very dedicated to becoming a good runner,” Powell County Cross Country Head Coach Julie Clark said. “With her work ethic she could become great.” With hard work and dedication, Fulks was able to decrease her time over the season from 37:42 to her personal record of 29:31. “She goes home and works on her own,” her father, Eric Fulks, said of her commitment to the sport. “I certainly want to thank the coaches,” Avery said, “for getting me this far. When I first started cross country I wasn’t all that great.” But before she can go, Avery must raise enough money to cover the cost of the nine day Australian Tournament. “As an individual it’s roughly $6,000 just to get her there,” her father said. “That’s not counting passports and expenses.” Since neither of the local Cross Country coaches will be going on the trip, her father will be accompanying her there. “That’s going to bump the cost up to almost $15,000,” he said. Once there, Avery, along with all the other athletes, will practice every other day, but will also be able to take in the sights of Australia as well. She will be representing Powell County, Kentucky, the East Coast and the United States. Fulks will be competing in two races while in Australia. “We will have practice runs on the beach,” Fulks said. “One race will be with everyone (at the tournament), and our last race will be the All American Race.” “It’s a pretty big honor,” her father said. “This is something that she can put on a college resume in a few years.” The family has set up a gofundme page in order to help Avery reach her fundraising goal. If you would like to donate, you can go to www.gofundme.com/running-for-australia, or see Eric at the Powell County Clerk’s Office to pick up a sponsorship form. The sponsorship form includes a ticket for those who have donated. That ticket will go into a drawing for a trip for two to Australia and Hawaii and/or a subsequent drawing for a 5-day cruise for two. Avery must have her full payment turned in by June 2 in order to participate in the Down Under Sports Tournament.