Putting her best leap forward

Josh Echt

Hunt steps up for track team

After a teammate was injured, Stephanie Hunt competed in the triple jump for the first time. Her jump was the 10th best in Kent State history.

Credit: Andrew popik

Helping others is nothing new to sophomore Stephanie Hunt.

Her mother is a nurse, and her father is an attorney.

Now her values she received from her parents are helping her help the Kent State track and field team.

Hunt put those lessons of helping others to use at the Miami Invitational April 9. She replaced senior triple-jumper Colleen Ramharak, winning the event with a jump of 37-10.75 and helping her team with a 10-point total. The jump was her first ever. It also happened to be the tenth-longest leap in Kent State history.

Not bad for a first try.

“My parents always told me to give everything your best shot, to do it right,” she said. “They also stressed the importance of helping others.”

Hunt filled in for Ramharak after she injured herself earlier that day.

“My heart sank,” Hunt said. “However, Colleen and (fellow triple-jumper Phil) Rickaby helped me learn everything I needed to know about the triple-jump.”

Hunt and the rest of the track team compete in the Akron Quad tomorrow at Akron.

Hunt usually participates on the 4×400 meter relay team and just started participating in the open 400-meter dash. Adding the triple-jump to her repertoire of events put strain on an already busy schedule. Being a nursing major made it more challenging.

“It’s hard academically,” Hunt said.

Time management was hard because of the effort required to balance classes, triple- jumping and her usual running events she said. Hunt was planning on eventually making an attempt at the triple-jump this season. Ramharak’s injury sped up that process.

Since the move to the triple-jump, Hunt has proven herself as more than just a fill-in. She continues to practice the triple-jump, despite not competing since the Miami meet. Even her brief experience in the event has helped her in conditioning and strength training for the 400-meters and the 4×400 meter relay. One of her biggest obstacles she has to overcome is improving her strength.

“It is great preparation for the 400-meters,” she said. “The strength and power needed to compete in both events is similar.”

The hardest part of triple-jumping, she said, is getting a feel for how to do it properly because it is a technique-based sport.

“You have to stay calm and relaxed on the runway,” Hunt said.

Hunt also said it takes time to learn the proper technique, especially in her case because she had never done it before. The closest she’s ever come to attempting the triple-jump is when she competed in the long jump in middle school.

Ramharak expressed her pleasure with working with Hunt.

“She’s going to score in the Mid-American Conference meet,” Ramharak said. “She won her first meet and will improve with more competition against other teams.”

The support Hunt has received from her teammates is part of the reason for her quick success, she said.

Coach Wendel McRaven marveled at Hunt’s drive and zeal to succeed and help the team’s efforts.

“Her stepping up and voluntarily participating reveals her character,” McRaven said. “She’s willing to be a team player and go above and beyond what is expected of her.”

Contact track and field reporter Josh Echt at [email protected].