Justin Hunter (pictured by Ryan Kelly) bettered his state record and US leading mark in the long jump by winning the USATF Junionr Nationals title in the long jump with a final attempt and 0.2 wind legal mark of 25'10.75". The recent graduate of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach started off the competition with a initial mark of 24'9.75", which still would have placed him first ahead of eventual runner-up Carlton Lavong from Pennsylvania (24'7.25"). He struggled in his following attempts including a scratch and having to slow down in his approach, so his coach Andrea Bowman and Hunter deided to move back a few steps for the final attempt which produced the big mark. "The runway goes a little downhill and you could tell he was not confident with his approach, so we moved him back a few steps," said Coach Bowman seeing her athlete frustrated despite leading the competition into his final jump. Hunter had decided to compete at the USATF Junior Nationals when he realized that he would be unable to compete at the New Balance Nationals which conflicted with his high school graduation. He apparently made the right choice to make the long trip to Des Moines, Iowa and move back a few steps as well.
His top two finish and US #18 all-time performance qualifies Hunter to compete on the World Juniors team, which will be in competition July 19th through July 25th in Moncton, Canada. He intends on competing despite having to work through conflicts with summer school at the University of Tennessee and needing his U.S. passport process expedited. Hunter is excited about the opportunity to compete on the World stage and wear the red, white, & blue "I'm going to wear it proud," said Hunter.
Hunter is the first high school boys champion from Virginia in the meet since Mike Morrison (pole vault) back in 2005 and joins Keith Holley, who previously was the only USATF Junionr National long jump prep champion from Virginia back in 1988 with a mark of 25'5.25" A simple "Wow!" was Hunter's reaction when he learned of how rare his victory was.
The University of Tennessee bound football and track star will compete tomorrow afternoon in the triple jump, which will include Virginia Tech freshmen David Wilson who last year stopped Hunter from winning all three state titles in the outdoor state meet by a less than an inch in the triple jump. "It is going to be like old times, but I'm going to beat him,." a laughing Hunter about renewing his rivlary with the former George Washington High jumper. Hunter is shooting for a mark over 52 feet and feels that confidence will be the key to carry him over that mark and into a top two finish.
Men Long Jump Junior =============================================================================== WJC Qual: $ 7.50m Name Year Team Finals Wind =============================================================================== Finals 1 Justin Hunter unattached 7.89m$ 0.2 25-10.75 7.56m(-1.2) FOUL 7.35m(-0.8) 7.48m(-1.3) 7.01m(-0.8) 7.89m(0.2) 2 Carlton Lavong unattached 7.50m$ +0.0 24-07.25 FOUL 7.40m(+0.0) 7.50m(+0.0) 7.25m(-1.0) PASS 7.37m(-0.8) 3 Micah Mcculloch Southern Uni 7.17m +0.0 23-06.25 6.90m(-0.9) 7.17m(+0.0) 6.94m(-1.7) 7.03m(0.5) FOUL FOUL 4 Marquis Dendy unattached 7.17m 0.2 23-06.25 6.87m(+0.0) 7.17m(0.2) FOUL 6.88m(-0.1) FOUL 6.77m(0.4) 5 Kasen Covington YMCA Team Idaho 7.12m -1.3 23-04.50 FOUL 7.12m(-1.3) FOUL FOUL FOUL FOUL 6 Justin Gross unattached 7.11m 0.4 23-04.00 7.10m(0.2) 7.11m(0.4) 7.07m(+0.0) 7.05m(+0.0) FOUL 6.95m(+0.0) 7 Kevin Reddington Liberty 6.98m +0.0 22-11.00 FOUL 6.65m(1.6) 6.98m(+0.0) FOUL 6.81m(-0.7) 6.82m(-1.3) 8 Richard D'Ambrosio Norristown PAL TC 6.68m 0.1 21-11.00 6.68m(0.1) FOUL FOUL 6.57m(+0.0) FOUL 6.61m(0.1) 9 Cameron Burrell CL Athletics Stars 6.62m -0.5 21-08.75 FOUL 6.62m(-0.5) FOUL