‘Corn’ captured best of high school sports

February 3, 2017 FieldsColumn

Mark Cornelison’s photo of Bryan Station running back Eric Shelton — the E-train — was the cover shot for the Herald-Leader’s high school football’s preseason section in 2000.

BY MIKE FIELDS

Kentucky high school sports is losing a friend. Photographer Mark Cornelison is leaving the Herald-Leader for a job at the University of Kentucky. 

“Corn” worked at the newspaper for more than 20 years, and he brought a sharp eye, imagination and enthusiasm to illustrating the games, players and coaches in high school sports.

He shot countless regular-season and playoff games, and was on the sidelines for dozens of championships. He always did his best to capture the key moments, and he almost always succeeded.

Mark Cornelison

Mark and I made a lot of road trips together. The best times were to shoot the covers for our preseason basketball and football special sections. Our destinations included Boyle County (Coach Chuck Smith and linebacker Lamar Dawson); Leslie County (Tim Couch); Louisville (Brian Brohm); Mason County (Chris Lofton and Darius Miller), and Northern Kentucky (Drew Barker).

Mark’s most memorable cover shot, however, came right here in Lexington in 2000. We met Bryan Station football star Eric Shelton at the railroad tracks behind Rupp Arena to photograph the senior running back, whose nickname was the E-train. 

The shirtless Shelton, his upper body spritzed with water to make it look like he was sweating, has a football tucked under his right arm. He’s glowering at the camera as he high-steps down the tracks, looking as powerful as a locomotive.

If I were Shelton, I would have had that Herald-Leader page framed a long time ago, and I would still have it prominently displayed in my house.

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