By Hanna Duenkel
LoCoSports Photo Editor
Purcellville (February 6, 2016) — Loudoun Valley senior Drew Hunter has signed his National Letter of Intent to the University of Oregon to run the 5,000- and 1,500-meter races beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.
“Oregon has traditionally had one of the best distance programs in the country,” the 5-foot-11 Hunter said. “They have a rich tradition of Olympians and world class runners. I want to be a part of that and hope to add to the University of Oregon tradition. Plus, they have one of the best distance coaches in America, Andy Powell, and I wanted to work with him.”
Powell – one of the assistant coaches at Oregon – has spent eleven years with the Division I Ducks and individually coached 26 national champions during his tenure. He acted as an assistant coach in 2009 when the Ducks won their first NCAA indoor track and field championship, as well as when Oregon won both the NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field championships in 2014 and 2015.
“I’m going to hopefully contribute to their cross country team in the fall and indoor and outdoor track teams in the winter and spring,” the future Duck said. “I believe that I can contribute a lot to either the cross country team or on a relay in track.”
Hunter’s high school career has been highlighted by winning the national championship in the 5,000-meter race (14:55) at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in December, breaking the U.S. high school record in the 3,000-meter (7:59.33) in January then breaking the U.S. high school record in the indoor mile (3:58.25) in February. With his mile time, Hunter became just the second high schooler to ever run a sub-4:00 indoor mile joining Olympian and South Lakes High School graduate Alan Webb (2001).
“The feeling of having a team title makes the individual title even better,” Hunter said. “I am very proud of what my team has accomplished this season, and I know they will continue to grow even as I leave for college. The group of guys have all bought into my parents’ program and are going to flourish as runners the next few years.”
The young athlete’s accomplishments do not stop as Hunter was also named the 2015 Gatorade Runner of the Year for the state of Virginia as well as the Cheers and LoCoSports All-LoCo Athlete of the Year in boys cross country.
“I run because I love being good at something. I love working hard every day and seeing the benefits when I either win a big race or run a fast time,” Hunter said. “I stay motivated by continuing to train hard and improve. Improvement is vital to staying motivated.”
Hunter’s time as a high school student-athlete at Loudoun Valley may be dwindling, but time will not stop him from accomplishing his goals in the upcoming outdoor track season.
“It’s a relief because the process is over, and I can solely focus on running and school,” Hunter said. “But, I am already counting down the days until I am out in Eugene working out with the team. I’m very excited for next fall but still have some goals to accomplish while in high school.”