Drew Hunter Returning to The Armory Where He Achieved Legendary Status

Cover Photo: John Nepolitan

Drew Hunter’s return to The Armory on Saturday will be especially gratifying for two reasons.For one, he will be working alongside high school track & field athletes as an instructor at The Armory Indoor Track & Field Camp at The Armory New Balance Track & Field Center.

A truly unique opportunity considering he’s only a few years removed from being a high school student himself.Secondly, Hunter will be returning to the site where he set the high school indoor mile record with a 3:58.25 time.“Every time I step foot in The Armory,” Hunter said, “I feel all sorts of nostalgia.”

Hunter, the 22-year-old middle-distance professional runner from Purcellville, Va., will be one of the select premier track & field stars turned instructors joining The Armory Indoor Track & Field Camp. Joining Hunter include standouts Ajeé Wilson (current outdoor and indoor American record holder in the 800m), Sydney McLaughlin (at the age of 16 qualified for 2016 Olympics and is considered “face of USA Track & Field” as premier sprinter, hurdler), Lawrence Johnson (Indoor American record holder in pole vault, World Champion, Olympic silver medalist, 7-time U.S. championand others to offer high school students unsurpassed instruction.

Following is a question and answer session with Drew

Hunter:QUESTION: At what age did you know that you were going to excel in track & field en route to a professional career after high school and how did you come to that conclusion?

HUNTER: “After my freshman year of high school I realized I had a lot of potential to do something special in track and field. At the time, I was very naïve and didn’t know how far I could take this running journey. But, with a good summer of training and a ton of momentum going into my sophomore year I became an elite high school runner. At this point I knew I wanted to run in college and then professionally.”

QUESTION: During the upcoming camp what will be the most important thing you can tell high school kids about being a success and enjoy their participation in track & field, whether it’s simply in high school or perhaps beyond?

HUNTER: “I believe that a key to my success and happiness in track and field was finding out how much running could do for me. All my best friends, mentors, idols, and people who push me to be a good human are because of running. Track and field opened so many doors for me that otherwise would have been closed. So, by starting to run at a young age or even high school I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who believe in you and want you to excel at whatever it is you’re doing. This can be as simple as running a mile personal best or training for the Olympics so you can reach the highest level in this sport.”

QUESTION: When you were in high school, how much focus did you have on training, nutrition, maintaining a high academic standard and enjoying life as a teenager and being a part of a family with eight siblings?

HUNTER: “My parents and coaches always pushed me to be a student-athlete. Meaning that if I were running well – better have good grades too. This was very important because as hard as I was working in the classroom was equivalent to how hard I worked on the track after school. Luckily, I grew up in a great area with great friends who understood that there is more to life than a time on a clock. I surrounded myself with people who loved me unconditionally for who I was and not what I did on the track. That being said – I took my sleep, nutrition, and training regimen very seriously. Having a family with eight siblings I always had someone to hang out with and be myself which was crucial to my wellbeing outside of running.  Something cool about my family is that both of my parents are incredibly successful coaches but neither of them pushed me or my siblings to run. They simply provided us with a situation that would set us up for success in whatever endeavor we chose.”

QUESTION: What does it mean to come back to The Armory (where you broke the high school indoor mark) and work with high school long-distance runners?

HUNTER: “I will never forget running 3:58 for the mile and the crowd erupting as the time appeared on the clock. Even as I type this, I have chills remembering the significance of that day. It is an honor to be able to give back to a place that means so much to my running career. And it means even more to help others achieve their dreams and aspirations.”

QUESTION: Who was the person who gave you the best advice when you were in high school and what was that advice?

HUNTER: “My dad was the first person to ever tell me how good I could be at running. When I first started running, I had a hard time finishing races fast and winning. He instilled a warrior type mindset when I step foot on the starting line. This changed my running career for the better as I put on emphasis on winning races and not chasing a time on the clock. This helped me push past what I thought my limits were. I still use this advice every time I race.”

QUESTION: What are your goals for 2020?

HUNTER: “To become an Olympian. But to cherish the path and the process of trying to be the best version of myself. Not to get caught up in the scary thought of failure or not reaching my goals. 2020 is all about living my journey and doing what I can to be the best runner and human I can be.”T

o register and learn more about The Armory Indoor Track, please go to www.armorycamp.org. To see the full list of coaches and their bios for the 2019 Armory Indoor Track & Field camp, please go to www.armorycamp.org/coaches.

Other current track & field athlete who will be an instructor for a day at the upcoming Armory Indoor Track & Field camp include: Najee Glass (16-time NCAA All-American at the University of Florida); Athing Mu (current high school senior who broke the American 600m record at the 2019 USA Track & Field Indoor Championships with a 1:23.57); Strymar Livingston (in high school set indoor national records in both the 500m and 600m); Oliver Baker (11-time All-American at Stanford who just missed making the 2019 World Championship team in the 800m); Robin Reynolds (16-time All-American at the University of Florida); Thomas Johnson (noted New York High School champion in both long and triple jump and a 2-time state champion); Priscilla Frederick (competed in 2016 Olympics in the high jump and a silver medalist in the Pan American Games and 2-time All-American at St. John’s University); and Amina Smith (All-American at the University of Maryland in the high jump).

They will be joined by current award-winning coaches Lisa Morgan (current head track & field coach at Bloomfield College, N.J.); Andy Capellan (head track & field coach at New Rochelle High School); Dwayne Evans (track & field coach for Team Jamaica), Bart Sessa, (who from 1996-2006 guided the Syosset boys team to 10 consecutive Section 8 cross country championships); Dominic Zanot (track & field coach at Harrison High School), Scott Menin, (the current head throw coach for AOC, an AAU club team in Pennsylvania); Tim St. Lawrence (Director of acclaimed Hudson Valley Flying Circus in Orange County); and Matt Ellis (owner of Primal Athlete Training Center and Elite Throws Coaching in Rhode Island).

Follow The Armory on FacebookTwitter and Instagram at @armorynyc, or go to ArmoryTrack.com or Armory.NYCAbout The Armory FoundationThe Armory is a New York City non-profit institution, with the mission of “Keeping Kids on Track.” Each season The Armory— the proud home of the NYRR Millrose Games – hosts more than 100 track & field meets and welcomes more than 220,000 athlete visits. Among its many youth sports and educational programs, including the acclaimed Armory College Prep program, The Armory runs the leading collegiate indoor track meet with the Dr. Sander Invitational, and hosts the largest high school indoor track meets with this year’s 25th Hispanic Games, The New Balance Games, and the New Balance Nationals Indoors.  The Armory also runs Columbia & NewYork – Presbyterian Indoor Marathon presented by New York Road Runners, which is the world’s largest indoor marathon relay. The Armory is also the home to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and dozens of very large education-focused events. For more: Please visit Armory.NYC and ArmoryTrack.com.