Pisgah track star signs with East Tennessee State

May 29—With the track and field season coming to a close, Pisgah senior Ashton Sutton has his new home for next year after signing with East Tennessee State on Thursday.

"I'm really blessed to have this opportunity to compete," Sutton said.

Sutton competed in the state championships earlier in the week as part of Pisgah's 4x400-meter relay team — a team that broke the school record four times this season.

"He was the kind of kid that if you ever needed anything, you knew you had that person that you could ask to take on anything and he would do it," Pisgah track coach Danny Williamson said. "He was always that go-to guy that could do everything. He's meant a lot. It will be hard to replace, but we'll figure it out."

Sutton said his time at Pisgah is something he will look back on fondly.

"I'm going to look back and be grateful and work even harder at the next level and see where it takes me," he said.

Williamson said Sutton's versatility will be worthwhile at the next level. In college, there is no limit on the number of events an athlete can compete in during one meet.

"He can fill a lot of holes and a lot of voids for East Tennessee State, especially at something like a conference championship meet," Williamson said.

One of those events Sutton could fill in with could be one of the multi-event competitions.

"The decathlon or heptathlon is a great opportunity for him because the only thing he's got to learn how to do is pole vault," Williamson said. "He's a daredevil so he'll be able to do it."

Sutton will be attending East Tennessee State in the fall, a school that has a special family legacy — his mother, Jennifer Sutton, is a graduate of the school.

"It means the world to me," Jennifer Sutton said. "I loved my experience at ETSU and I'm glad he's going there. It's a great school."

The close distance is also an added plus for Sutton's parents.

"That makes it really special," Jennifer Sutton said. "He's far enough away where it feels like he's getting his freedom, but he's close enough to home to where I can get to him if I need to."

Jennifer Sutton said she was very proud and excited about this next step.

"I'm feeling very blessed and grateful. He's worked so hard for all this. He's worked to get where he's at. We're super excited for him," Jennifer Sutton said. "We're super proud of him and can't wait to see what the future holds."

Williamson also played a crucial role in Sutton's recruitment. The former Western Carolina and UNC Asheville coach has plenty of connections in the collegiate world, especially in the Southern Conference.

"I had a lot of help from Danny because he has a lot of connections everywhere. I was just talking to him and keeping my grades up and improving my stats," Ashton Sutton said. "It's been a lot. It's a lot of hard work and dedication. You have to have the want to be the best you can."

The senior says he plans to major in nursing.

"Nursing has run in my family and I want to help people," Ashton Sutton said. "I thought that would be a good way to do it."