App State’s 2021 Spooky Duke raises over $25K for children with special needs

On Saturday, Oct. 16, costumed creatures once again gathered on the campus of Appalachian State University - and virtually - for the eleventh annual Spooky Duke 5K/10K Race and Costume Contest. 

Spooky Duke Costume March bannerSophomore music education major Malcolm Vaughn and senior psychology major Angeline Amponsah lead the way with the Costume March banner! Photo by Marta Saylors.

This year, 341 walkers and runners participated in-person and virtually, and 50 volunteers helped make the event a success. With sponsorships, donations and participation fees, the event raised over $15,000 in proceeds to benefit the work of App State’s Parent to Parent Family Support Network-High Country (FSN-HC), which assists regional families who have children with special needs. Two $5,000 matching grants from Health Foundation Inc. and Mast General Store raised the total to $25,617 - the most since the annual race began.

Spooky Duke participantsBrian Cole, Ana Cole, Natalie Croxton, Owen Cole, and Sophia Cole are ready to race! Photo by Kyla Willoughby.

The Halloween-themed fundraising and awareness-raising event is a USA Track & Field (USATF)-certified 5K and 10K race with a free costume march and contest in which children, adults and pets can all show off their costumes and share in the fun. Spooky Duke is named in honor of Dr. Charles R. Duke, event sponsor and former dean of App State’s Reich College of Education (RCOE).

Kaaren says hello to participantsParent to Parent (FSN-HC) director Kaaren Hayes says congratulations to the youngest costume contest winner! Photo by Kyla Willoughby. 

App State’s Parent to Parent (FSN-HC), housed in the RCOE, provides free support and information to families who have a premature baby or a child with a disability, an emotional or behavioral challenge, a mental illness or a chronic health condition, and also assists families who are grieving the death of a child. The program serves Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.

Race results

Second place runner gives thumbs up10K second-place runner, Ian Combest, gives a thumbs up as he accepts his award! Photo by  Kyla Willoughby.

5K Top Finishers (men)

First place — Kevin Garbacki; time 17:55.4.

Second place — SageCosten; time 19:05.9.

Third place — Calvin Zwetsloot; time 19:38.9.

Masters — Sean O’Grady; time 23:58.4.

5K Top Finishers (women)

First place — Taylor Broyhill; time 21:51.6.

Second place — Lydia Picotte; time 23:10.3.

Third place — Angie Blevins; time 23:31.7.

Masters — Beth Shanklin; time 27:47.6.

10K Top Finishers (men)

First place — Grady Gates; time 42:33.3.

Second place — Ian Combest; time 46:37.9.

Third place — Jonathan Apolinar; time 58:22.9.

Masters — Ross Gosky; time 48:48.2.

10K Top Finishers (women)

First place — Abby Farrell; time 47:16.9.

Second place — Logan Marine; time 48:26.9.

Third place — Peyton Kota; time 59.36.0.

Masters — Diane Sprage; time 1:03:06.9.

View the complete Spooky Duke 2021 race results

Event sponsors

Costume contest winnersSophomore psychology major Karyn Schy and junior public health major Jonathan Apolinar Soriaño share the spooky costume contest trophy. Photo by Kyla Willoughby. 

Hair Raiser ($1,000-plus contribution)

Fang-tastics ($500-plus contribution)

Jack-o’-Lanterns ($300-plus contribution)

Skeletons ($125-plus contribution)

Partners for 2021 Spooky Duke

Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman run the Spooky DukeCaptain Marvel and Wonder Woman took time from saving the world to run the Spooky Duke! Photo by Marta Saylors.

Parent to Parent (FSN-HC) would like to thank the following groups and individuals who helped make the Spooky Duke race and silent auction a success.

App State and community organizations

  • Anna Bananas
  • App State Parking & Traffic
  • App State University Bookstore
  • AppalCart
  • Ashe County Cheese
  • Boone Bagelry
  • Boone Docks Brewing
  • Boone Town Council
  • The Cardinal
  • Come Back Shack
  • Cupcrazed Boone
  • Dos Amigos
  • Five Guys
  • GE Aviation
  • The Goldsmith
  • Great Clips
  • Harris Teeter
  • Hungry Howie’s
  • Ingles
  • Jaybird aerial Photography
  • Little Caesars Pizza
  • Los Arcoiris
  • Lowes Foods
  • M&B Printing
  • Mountain Outfitters
  • Mystery Hill
  • Publix
  • Racing Toes
  • Twigs
  • Village Cafe
  • Walmart


  • Janet Adams
  • John & Marcia Blake
  • Hollis Bruck
  • Diane Coffey
  • Olivia Cullipher
  • Elizabeth Dunbar
  • Sali Gill-Johnson
  • Scott Galloway
  • Judith Ann Graham
  • Kaaren Hayes
  • Megan Hayes
  • Lisa & Charles Hypes
  • Trish Kerley
  • Charles Lieberman
  • Kathy Mann
  • Bill Pillow
  • Amy Roberts
  • Rebekah Saylors

Race Teams

  • ADPI App State
  • Cabbage Rolls
  • Caleb’s Hobgoblins
  • Cookvid-19
  • Covenant to Serve
  • Kaleidoscope
  • The Pacemakers
  • SDAP/ Best Buddies
  • Tele-Trotters

Spooky Duke costume contest participantsAll the costume contest participants! Thank you to all who participated and helped make Spooky Duke a success! Photo by Kyla Willoughby.

Spooky Duke Race Start
Published: Oct 28, 2021 9:28am