Looking Back on a Memorable Season: Rorey Hunter
July 21, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Rorey Hunter had a junior season to remember with incredible highlights and memorable moments. Starting with a seventh-place finish to help the Hoosiers win their first Big Ten Championship in cross country for the first time since 1980 Hunter carried that momentum onward to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships.
During the indoor season Hunter anchored the Hoosiers distance medley relay team to a school record of 9:27.72 with a 3:58 1600m split. The time was the fifth fastest all-time collegiate mark and the team carried that momentum on to a third-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships to earn All-America honors.
In the outdoor season Hunter won the 1500m at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and finished in ninth-place at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 1500m to earn Second Team All-America honors. Hunter won the Kentucky Relays mile in 4:00.97, the sixth fastest time in school history. Running against professional athletes at the American Track League meet in Bloomington, Hunter won the 1500m in 3:40.36, the 10th fastest time in school history.
On helping the cross country team win the Big Ten Championship
"It was pretty special being part of that group. We knew we would be in the mix to challenge for the title but (as most people other than our camp were thinking) we were definitely the underdogs coming in. We were a young and fairly inexperienced team still figuring out how to run together and use each other to maximize our performances. So to get it right under those circumstances was huge. Individually, I probably got a little lucky that it was a moderate pace with a faster mile on the end but I was obviously still very surprised and stoked with how high I finished and happy I could help out the team."
On what allowed him to have so much success this past season
"It has been the culmination of the past 24 months of preparation and adaption to Coach Helmer's program. I came to IU as an 800m runner running less than 40 miles a week and I hadn't really trained at the level required to thrive in the big races in the NCAA. So it took a good 18 months of often frustrating and humbling results before I started to run to my potential. I was fortunate enough to stay healthy over last summer and into cross country. I'd stepped up my mileage to about 75 miles a week and had consequently built an aerobic strength I'd never had before. Last year I had the speed to hang in races and was fast enough to close with anyone, but when the kicking started I was either too far back to make an impact or too tired to use it. Building aerobic strength has been that missing piece of the puzzle required to win races. Obviously it wasn't as simple as adding mileage, but a combination of increasing the workload to a level that covered all aspects and maximized my potential as well as building the confidence required to trust myself to compete with the best."
On memorable moments from this past season
"I was lucky enough to have so many memorable moments from last season. Definitely our Big Ten team title was a huge highlight in the cross country season. Breaking the school record, qualifying for NCAA's and running the no. 5 fastest DMR time ever, going on to finish third at nationals highlighted the indoor season. Outdoors, winning the American Track League 1500m and running my current PB in front of the home crowd was pretty magical. Winning the Big Ten 1500m title after almost being dead last in the heats the year before was awesome and the hectic road to the NCAA 1500m finals and ending up finishing ninth wasn't too bad either."
On the motivation from past success going into the upcoming season
"As a competitive athlete I'm always hungry for more. Last year's success is now the benchmark for the upcoming year and creates even greater expectations that I am excited to embrace. I still believe I have many areas that can be improved that will translate to improved performances, so I'm excited to explore that. I also have a couple of Big Ten titles to defend and our DMR returns all members so maybe we'll end Coach Helmer's bridesmaid streak and finally get the national title."
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