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Hawks jumper in Hunt for national title

March 05, 1997

By BOB PARASILITI

Staff Writer

The track world should beware of Andre Hunt, especially if he gets up on the wrong side of the bed.

It's not that Hunt gets grumpy - he's known as one of the nicer athletes on the Hagerstown Junior College track team. Instead, it's more of a superstitious omen.

Hunt says he can remember taking an alternate route out of the sack three times. On the first, he broke HJC's school triple jump record, a mark which had been on the books for 20 years. He extended that mark the next two times he rolled the wrong way.

"I woke up those mornings and I felt really good," Hunt said. "I felt like I was going to have good days. The only thing I could remember is I got up on the opposite side of the bed. I don't know if it means anything, but I'm going to try and remember to do it this weekend."

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This weekend, Hunt and 10 other HJC athletes will be competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association indoor track championships in Minneapolis, Minn.

"(Andre) is ranked sixth in the nation right now, but it's only a matter of inches separating the top," HJC coach Mike Spinnler said. "It will be a matter of who handles the pressure the best."

Pressure doesn't enter the picture for Hunt. He says jumping is a matter of technique and positive thoughts.

"I just do this because I love it," said Hunt, a freshman from Lynchburg, Va. "I don't do this thinking I have to win. I do it because I have fun. I just love the sport. I don't look at practicing as heartache and pain. It's fun and I don't feel like I've practiced unless I hurt afterwards."

Hunt bettered Sam Onwuli's record of 48 feet, 9 inches - set in 1977 - in just his second meet at HJC. He recorded a leap of 49-3 in a meet at Wagner University. He has extended the record twice. The mark now stands at 49-31/2, 61/2 inches past Onwuli's mark. Spinnler said Hunt is aiming for 50 feet at the nationals.

Hunt started triple jumping by accident as a ninth grader.

"It's a gift," he said. "The first time I tried it, I jumped 40 feet. My freshman coach said I was a natural."

Hunt has come a long way since then. Natural ability and good attitude have given him a shot to become a national champion.

"I've been working hard for the last two weeks in my training and lifting," Hunt said. "My goal is to win, if God gives me the will."

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