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Fox Chapel's Folkerts ramps up summer training

| Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 10:51 p.m.
Fox Chapel's Jonathan Folkerts will be a senior in 2017.
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Fox Chapel's Jonathan Folkerts will be a senior in 2017.

Jonathan Folkerts, a senior at Fox Chapel, finished 14th in the 1,600 meters at the WPIAL track championships last spring. Now he's turned his focus to the cross country season. A member of the cross country team since his freshman year, he's hoping to achieve a goal that has eluded him so far.

“I want to qualify for the state championships,” he said. “I think it's an achievable goal, and I'll be working hard to do it.”

To that end, he has been running six or seven days a week and averaging between 40-45 miles per week.

Track and cross country weren't his first choices when he was younger.

“Initially, I wanted to be a wide receiver in football. My dad thought I would be better suited for track. That turned out to be the best choice. My talents are best suited for distance running, and I've been involved in running since the end of seventh grade.”

He has run in several half-marathons and run as many as 11 miles at a time, and he feels that the mental aspect of running is tougher than the physical part.

“You can build yourself up physically, but the mental part comes into play and you have to get into the mindset of pushing fatigue to the back of your thoughts. Everybody can get into good physical shape and work on conditioning skills. How you mentally deal with fatigue and the competition does a lot in determining who will cross the line first.”

He wants to continue with running in college, and he has hopes of attending Duquesne to major in physical therapy. Concerning the upcoming season, he is optimistic that he and his teammates will find success.

“I think we'll do well. We have just about everybody back, and I think we'll show improvement over our times from last year.”

Marty Stewart is a freelance writer.

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