first_imgIt was her sophomore year of high school when Regine Hunter decided to drop the pom-poms and lace up her running shoes for the first time.What originally started out as just a way to keep in shape soon turned into a prosperous track career.Just three years removed from her first competition, Syracuse’s newest track and field star has already found immediate success early in her freshman season.“I just never thought I would be doing track in college,” Hunter said. “I thought it would be harder than it is, actually.”Hunter and the rest of the SU track and field team head to Ames, Iowa, this weekend to participate in the Iowa State Classic. The team will look to continue running well, and Hunter, individually, will aim to build upon the success she’s already had in her first season. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Syracuse opened the 2014 indoor season at the New York City Gotham Cup in early January, Hunter was the lone SU runner to take home gold in any event. She won the triple jump, leaping an impressive 12.55 meters in the very first event of her college career. The 12.55-meter jump was already better than any jump she ever did in her short high school career.“I was just happy to place at all,” Hunter said. “Getting gold was just a big accomplishment.”Hunter grew up in Cranford, N.J., a little more than 30 minutes away from New York City. Hunter was an All Star cheerleader for eight years through elementary and middle school before ultimately stopping her freshman year of high school.All Star cheerleading is more competitive than high school cheerleading. Rather than cheering at games or at pep rallies, All Star cheerleading focuses more on training and competitions. Most of the cheerleaders involved don’t even go to the same school, according to All Star cheerleading’s website.Hunter credits her experience as an All Star cheerleader for helping to develop her current athleticism and athletic ability.Her assistant coach, Dave Hegland, believes it’s that natural athleticism, mentality and work ethic that have led to her early success.Hunter has already won the triple jump twice this season, as well as taking a second-place finish in the 60-meter dash.“(Hunter) has been fantastic so far, as good as we could’ve hoped, really,” Hegland said. “Every day she’s training at a really high level. It’s unusual for a freshman to be that consistent at practice at a daily basis.”After learning how to jump and run from her high school track and field coaches at Cranford High School, Hunter was thrown off at first by Hegland and the SU staff’s different methods.“It’s a lot different. They have a lot of different techniques,” Hunter said. “Coming in from high school, I’ve learned things a different way, and now I’m coming here and learning it all over again.”Specifically, Hunter believes the focus on her technique and speed has led to her improved jumps and run times.Working with Hegland and the sprints and jumps coaches have helped further Hunter’s development in both kinds of competitions. When Hunter first joined the squad, several of the seniors on the team welcomed her with open arms and gave her pointers. Now those same seniors echo Hegland’s praise of her performance.Senior distance runner Molly Malone believes Hunter is one of the underclassman runners that has shown promise.“They are doing a great job,” senior distance runner Molly Malone said. “Regine, (Rebecca Robinson), and a few of our distance freshman are doing a great job. I think the whole program is getting a lot better.” Comments Published on February 13, 2014 at 2:46 am Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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