Fulton senior running towards life after high school

Published: May. 5, 2020 at 11:49 PM EDT
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High school seniors around East Tennessee won't be walking in graduations any time soon, but one Fulton High School athlete isn't worried about walking.

Instead, he's running.

Mateo Francisco-Andres, who goes by Teo, wanted to blaze his own path by running 30 laps - or roughly 26 miles - around the school campus.

"I feel like a lot of my peers feel put down because of the pandemic, but what I've been trying to do is uplift them to think that this may be an obstacle, but we can all overcome it together," said Teo.

For the cross country captain, cruising past a finish line is more satisfying than crossing a graduation stage.

"Walking the stage - I would love to have it, and it sucks - but being able to run out here and have the support that I have right now, it means a lot."

That support came in the form of a handful of Teo's teachers and coaches who came out to support him during his nearly three-hour run.

"It just solidifies what an excellent young man Teo is. He just embodies everything we'd want a Fulton Falcon to be. The sky is the limit for him. He's going to do great things, I know it," said Fulton High School principal Seth Smith.

Teo says he's not satisfied with just a high school diploma and wants to be the first in his family to graduate from college.

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