The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

The BluePrint

Cross Country coach steps down

Mr.+Hunter+%28third+from+left%29%2C+with+cross+country+Mrs.+Mills%2C+Mrs.+Soisson%2C+and+Mr.+Sachse%2C+poses+after+a+recent+run.+Mr.+Hunter+was+a+highly+popular+coach%2C+but+he+resigned+last+week+to+focus+on+building+a+family.
B-A cross country team
Mr. Hunter (third from left), with cross country Mrs. Mills, Mrs. Soisson, and Mr. Sachse, poses after a recent run. Mr. Hunter was a highly popular coach, but he resigned last week to focus on building a family.

Popular Bellwood-Antis boys and girls cross country coach Mr. Connor Hunter announced that he was stepping down from his position last week.

Mr. Hunter spent 4 years in the cross country program, two of which were under Blair County Sports Hall of Fame Inductee Miss. Julia Roseborough.

The boys ended 2023 with a record of 5-6 while the girls had a record of 8-3. It was a year full of new personal records for all runners, something that Mr. Hunter will miss.

“I’m really going to miss seeing every little improvement that each runner makes,” he said. “One of the best feelings is seeing a runner cross the finish line and be able to tell them that they just ran their best race ever.”

Mr. Hunter’s resignation came as a shock to all of his runners as well as Athletic Director, Mr. Charlie Burch.

“I was definitely surprised by Coach Hunter’s resignation because of his sincere love and passion for coaching cross country!  The parents and kids loved his efforts and attitude.”

Mr. Burch said he has a lot of respect for Mr. Hunter and what he did for the program.

“I appreciate all that he did … and his enthusiasm,” he said.

Mr. Burch said he is hoping to hire the next head coach from within the current coaching staff.

Mr. Hunter’s reason for resigning came down to time issues. He recently got married and is in the process of looking for a house. At this point in time he doesn’t have the time to be an effective coach for the team.

“I actually loved getting to be head coach, but my hope of starting a family helped me know that I needed to take a step back to get the time to focus on my family and get us set up for success,” Mr. Hunter said.

Although he has stepped down as head coach, that does not mean he plans to leave the cross country program for good. He has plans to possibly come back as a volunteer assistant coach.

“My ultimate goal is to have the largest impact possible in life,” Mr. Hunter said. “If I can make the time work out someday in the future and there’s a need, I’d consider changing roles again.”

In 2020, Mr. Hunter was began working with B-A runners as a volunteer assistant coach, and then in 2021 he became the team’s official assistant coach. In 2022, he started as an assistant coach in the summer, but as soon as the actual season started, he stepped in as interim head coach when Coach Roseborough retired. Mr. Hunter was the cross country team’s official head coach in 2023.

“It was like changing roles every year, and next year I’m back to volunteer as a coach again!” he said.

Mr. Hunter’s runners enjoyed their time running for him very much.

“I liked his fun attitude and his seriousness towards us getting better as runners,” said freshman Domanick Halerz.

Classmate Colin Neary said Mr. Hunter had helpful ways of motivating every runner.

“He would always recognize us achieving our PRs or getting better,” he said. Neary said one motivator was a “Biggest Loser” headband runners could earn for dropping time off their finishes. “I went from 32 to 25 and got a headband that said BL!”

The cross country team has become very much like a family from Mr. Hunter’s impact, which can be accredited to his effort and care for his team.

His favorite memory from his time of being a coach was a game they called “soak.” There were two large barrels with water, and it was each team’s objective to fill cups with water and run them over to an empty bucket on the other teams’ side. In order to stop somebody, you had to throw a cup full of water and hit the front of them.

“The kids had a blast, and I felt like that was the moment our team really started to bond and become a family,” Mr. Hunter said.

 

 

 

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Ethan Johnston, Staff Writer
Ethan Johnston Grade 12 Years in BluePrint: 1 What you hope to do this year: Write sports stories. Outside activities: Golf Why did you take BluePrint: Heard it was fun from other people.

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