High Five: Northside runner slows down to talk

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Keanu Dugan had had an eventful 12 months. His family moved to Belhaven from Pennsylvania this time last year, just in time for the Panthers COVID-19 delayed cross country season. Northside qualified for the state meet, but didn’t run because the virus. Dugan finished 10th in the 1600 meters at the state track meet in the spring and was part of the 11th place 4 x 800 relay team. He helped the cross country team to qualify again this fall by winning the individual regional title, then finished 18th last weekend in Kernersville.


  1. How did your family find their way to Eastern North Carolina?

Keanu: I was born in Ohio, then my family lived a few other places before we moved near Allentown, Pa. My parents were looking for warmer weather and wanted a boat. My dad loves to fish, so we chose Belhaven. They own and operate the Cloud Nine Creamery and just opened the Belhaven Escape Room. I am the fourth of five kids and my younger sister is a freshman here at Northside.


  1. Was it difficult moving to a new school after the year started?

Keanu: Yes and no. My timing was perfect for cross country because I was on the team at my other school, so I was in good shape when we moved and the season was just starting here. My new teammates made me feel welcome right away and it didn’t take long to meet people. It’s only been a year, but it feels like I’ve been going here longer. I feel comfortable here and have really enjoyed it.


  1. Your first name brings to mind the actor, Keanu Reeves. Any connection? Do you like his movies?

Keanu: My older sister, Gabrielle, liked his movies and thought it was a cool name. She suggested it and my mom liked it. John Wick II is my favorite of his movies. I also like The Matrix. Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was weird, but I like it also.


  1. How did you get interested in running?

Keanu: I played YMCA league soccer when I was little and my mom told me I had very good stamina. I started running the shorter distances in track in middle school, then used cross country to condition for lacrosse when I started high school. My good friend got a concussion from lacrosse, so I decided to stick with running.


  1. You had good team and personal success at the state track meet and finished well in the cold and wind at cross country last weekend. What has running taught you?

Keanu: That you can overcome mental barriers. We had to get over the freezing cold and high wind to finish like we wanted, so we dealt with it. I’ve also learned that hard work pays off. I will rest for two weeks before starting my track workouts. I’ll be in the 1600, 3200 and the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays, so I’ll run a mile, rest a minute, then repeat. I also try to do various shorter distances for time to change it up.


Bonus question: What are your plans after high school?

Keanu: I would like to run in college, but that’s undecided at this point. I would like to be a prosecuting attorney, so Law School is in the picture, with a psychology undergrad degree so I can try to figure out how the defendants think.