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Parkersburg High School’s Kupfner inks with W.Va. Wesleyan

Parkersburg High School senior hurdler Aaron Kupfner recently signed his national letter of intent to continue his track career as a student-athlete at West Virginia Wesleyan. He will major in Accounting. (Photo by Danny Carpenter)

PARKERSBURG — Hurdler Aaron Kupfner has some unfinished business left to attend to on the track at Parkersburg High School before he heads off to continue his career as a student-athlete for West Virginia Wesleyan and head coach Alan Crise.

Kupfner, who recently signed with the Division II Bobcats of the Mountain East Conference, carries a 3.56 GPA and is leaning toward a major in accounting.

“I visited a couple places in the state,” said the Big Red of also looking at Charleston, Alderson Broaddus, Wheeling, Glenville and Concord. “Wesleyan was my favorite. They bumped up their offer and made it affordable.”

The last time Kupfner competed for the Big Reds he was a sophomore.

He finished fourth in the 110 hurdles at the Class AAA state meet and missed a podium finish in the 300 hurdles by .06 seconds.

Placing ahead of the Big Red in the 300 hurdles that year was fellow sophomore Doryn Smith of Martinsburg, who finished one spot behind Kupfner in the 110 hurdles.

“There are two kids I think will challenge me a little bit. (Riverside’s) Carson Casto (8th in the 110H) and the one boy from Martinsburg, Doryn Smith,” said the Big Red, who along with three track letters also earned a trio in football.

Big Red track coach Rod O’Donnell said he expects Kupfner to once again compete on the 4×4 relay, which placed sixth two years ago at state.

“He was in the sixth grade. I was working over at Mountain River with the hurdlers and everything. I knew him from a very young age,” coach O’Donnell said. “I knew then he was going to be really good.

“That was my first contact with him and I saw him through elementary. We knew from the beginning he really liked it and he showed potential. I couldn’t tell about his speed then, but he’s gotten faster and definitely gotten stronger.”

Once at W.Va. Wesleyan, Kupfner said he’d like to “place in the nationals, maybe. That’d be pretty cool. I don’t know what I’ll get into in college. I haven’t really thought about it yet.”

Without question, winning two individual state titles, breaking his own personal records and also challenging for a team championship are the goals for this spring.

“I ran the 100 and didn’t even place,” Kupfner recalled of sixth grade and what soon shaped his future. “My dad said to try the hurdles. In the 200 hurdles I didn’t place.

“I got sixth and then went to fourth and then I got first in the county and they sent me to the Mountain River guys to work on my form and it just kind of grew on me. I started doing speed treadmill and it clicked and I’m good at it.”

Kupfner said his recruitment got started when he received a text through the Next College Student Athlete app.

“They viewed my profile and asked me to go on a visit and I went and they started throwing out estimates and stuff,” added the Big Red.

Coach O’Donnell added “I think Wesleyan was a good choice and I think he’ll do very well. We’re really happy for him.

“He’s a super kid. He’s got some very, very definite goals for this season. We’re excited about it.”

As far as bringing back a state track title to PHS and his future, Kupfner didn’t mince words.

“I’m excited to go to college, but at the same time I’m enjoying my time,” he said. “It feels pretty good to practice and run as a senior and help the freshmen out.

“I think we all think it’s doable if we get the right people out from the basketball team. It’s like a possibility. I feel like we got athletes. You only need about 80 points to win state. I feel like we got the athletes.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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