College junior Chelsea Fullerton runs a good race. The daughter of Lance and Trisha Fullerton of El Dorado, Chelsea is an Ottawa University cross country and track and field athlete who has qualified for NAIA nationals four times. But the prize she’s after doesn’t hang around her neck. Instead, it’s a badge of excellence she seeks in everything she does.
“Chelsea is an amazing young lady who exceeds expectations everyday academically, athletically and socially,” said Ottawa University Head Cross Country Coach Kirk Wren. “She works diligently to accomplish her goals as a student athlete by using excellent social skills, written and oral communications and an outstanding personality. I’m glad she is here at Ottawa getting a quality education and running cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.”
In addition to being a four-time national NAIA qualifier (twice in cross country; twice as a marathon qualifier), Fullerton holds the school record for both the half marathon and marathon. She is a two-time All-KCAC runner in cross country, three-time All-KCAC runner in indoor track, and a two-time All-KCAC runner in outdoor track. She has been part of an Academic All-American Team six times and is an NAIA Scholar Team Athlete.
Fullerton is a Presidential Scholar who has maintained a 4.0 GPA during her first two years at Ottawa, being awarded the Medal of Excellence during the school’s convocation ceremony in August.
This past summer, Fullerton worked as the assistant wrangler in the equine program at the Ottawa Methodist summer camp, Camp Chippewa. She worked directly with Equine Program Director James Rickner, a 2010 and 2012 (MBA) graduate of Ottawa University.
“I loved camp,” said Fullerton. “It is the best job I have had up to this point. The interaction with the kids, what I learned about working with horses, what I learned about myself, and the growth in my faith made it the perfect summer job.”
Besides her year-round involvement in two sports, Fullerton is also a second-year resident assistant and is involved in Campus Ministries at Ottawa University, including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, women’s Bible study, and the Christian high school retreat Braving Discipleship, which she helped plan and coordinate last year.
“Chelsea is a wonderful young lady and a strong leader on campus,” said Campus Pastor Bud McCluney. “Her leadership in Campus Ministries and especially Braving Discipleship has helped these programs to be the success they are. She is such a loving person who always smiles; what a blessing it is to have her on campus and a part our Campus Ministry programs.”
Fullerton is pursuing her bachelor’s in economics and accounting with a minor in mathematics. While she isn’t certain what she plans to do following graduation (maybe a master’s degree in agricultural economics), it is almost certain that she will excel at whatever she decides to pursue.