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West Virginia adds two Hall of Fame inductees

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two Olympic gold medalists — one a current world record holder and the other a coach of five NCAA championship teams — have been selected for induction into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

World shot put record-holder Randy Barnes and rifle gold medalist and championship coach Dr. Ed Etzel were honored by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association at the 64th annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 2 in Morgantown.

Etzel, a Morgantown resident who works on the West Virginia athletics department staff, led the WVU rifle team to the first five of its 14 national championships during an 11-year coaching career.

In 1984, at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, Etzel became the only rifle-shooter from the state of West Virginia to win a gold medal with a victory in the men's smallbore prone event.

Barnes, a native of Charleston, has been a record-setter since he was a student at St. Albans High School.

After 25 years, he remains the all-time high school 12-pound shot put record holder with a 66-foot, 9.5-inch toss at the 1985 Gazette Relays. After placing second in the Class AAA shot as a sophomore, he won two consecutive gold medals, including an all-class record 61-7 as a junior.

Barnes also won two consecutive state Class AAA discus titles after placing third as a sophomore. He set the state meet all-class record of 181-7 in 1985. The record lasted until 2008.

He attended Texas A&M, where he broke school records held by the legendary Randy Matson with a 16-pound shot put mark of 71-9.5.

At the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Barnes earned a silver medal with a toss of 73-feet, 5.5-inches. On January 20, 1989, he set the current world indoor record at the Sunkist Invitational in Los Angeles with a put of 74-feet, 4.25-inches. And on May 20, 1990, he set the current outdoor record with a throw of 75-feet, 10.25-inches. Two decades later, both world records stand.

But his crowning achievement came at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where his final throw of 70-feet, 11.25-inches was better than two feet longer than the runner-up and earned him a gold medal.

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