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Striking a Balance

Adapting­—and thriving—as he competes

The college track and field résumé of Jared Hunt ’19 speaks for itself: Centennial Conference indoor and outdoor champion and indoor record holder. Swarthmore indoor and outdoor record holder. National U-23 record holder.

Hunt achieved all of that with a significant limitation. The Charlotte, N.C., native was born with a club foot and lacks the full range of motion, power, and strength in his left leg. He goes as hard as his teammates but pays for it. “Especially in the morning,” says Hunt. “It’s painful to just walk around.”

“It’s unbelievable that Jared competed at such a high level in the NCAA,” says Lauren Lucci, assistant track and field coach at Swarthmore.

At Lucci’s urging, Hunt competed in adaptive track and field meets (think Paralympics) last summer, and set two national records for his age group and classification.

“It was cool competing with and being around a group of people that fully understood the extra training and pain management that goes into this,” Hunt says. “We had camaraderie.”

Now in Charlotte, Hunt is looking for an adaptive track and field club with which he can train and compete.

The ultimate goal, though, is to measure himself against international athletes at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer.
His focus has shifted from the shot put, which is not a Paralympic event for his classification, to the discus, and he’s giving the javelin a whirl. Hunt hasn’t lost sight of his professional goals, which begin with landing a research position before attending graduate school for clinical psychology.

He struck a similar balance at Swarthmore, where he juggled academics and athletics while nurturing relationships with his teammates, fellow resident advisors,

and the other members of the first cohort of the Swarthmore Summer Scholars Program.

“They were great communities within a great community,” Hunt says. “These people, including my coaches, were my best friends. They helped me figure out who I am, what excites me, who I want to be.

“And with their help,” he says, “I was able to accomplish things that I didn’t expect and see the time and hard work pay off. That’s something I can look back on and be proud of.”