Winter Track Update: Hunt Sets School Record, Ranks Inside NJ Top 10

Tim Callahan and Thomas Hunt

Being the first Oratory runner to ever qualify for the Ocean Breeze Elite Meet in Staten Island, Tommy Hunt was looking to make some noise ahead of New Balance Nationals. The already school record holder in the 800 meter run was looking to further etch his name in the record books – this time attempting to be the first Ram to ever break 2-minutes in the half mile distance. This late February meet contained a loaded field for the 800, with all 10 guys ranging from 1:59.2 to 2:00.14. The last time he ran at Ocean Breeze, Hunt was able to win his race with a time of 2:00.02. However, Hunt would have to grit his way to a whole ‘nother level if he wanted to win this time. Running against competitors from New York, Chicago, Connecticut and Washington D.C, there was a growing sense of anticipation for the track to be lit up…and lit up it was. As the gun went off, the race got out at a respectable pace, with Hunt going through 200 in 29.0 and sitting in third. At the mid-way mark, Hunt had slid back to fourth crossing in 59.07 – he would maintain this 4th place position through the next 200 meters. Although a full 1.35 seconds off the lead (around 10 meters), everyone following Union County Track & Field knows to never count out Hunt’s finishing kick. Moving up along the back stretch into 3rd, Hunt was still an afterthought in the mind of commentator Jason Bryne, who was yet to mention Hunt all race. However, in the final 50 meters Hunt would give everyone something to talk about. Swinging wide off the turn, Hunt would catapult himself around Seniors James Estafonous and Luke Pacheco (Connecticut’s #1 Ranked Runner), out-leaning both of them at the line and breaking the tape in 1:57.71. The 3 runners were separated by just 0.11 seconds, an unthinkably small margin of victory for the half-mile race. Just after the results came in, Byrne would comment: “We thought Luke Pacheco was gonna have it, but out of nowhere came Tommy Hunt of Oratory Prep to get him at the line in a 1:57.71.”   The Junior’s time of 1:57.71 not only makes him the first Oratory runner under 2 minutes for the half-mile distance, but also ranks him as #6 in NJ’s Class of 2024. Hunt, who stands 0.62 seconds of an NJ #1 time for his grade, ranks as #42 in the nation for the Class of 2024 – making him 1 of 8 New Jersey runners in the top 100. Inside word tells the Omega that Hunt is looking at going to Boston for New Balance Nationals (NBN) as an opportunity to represent OP at the highest level. Check back in the following days for a Tim Callahan exclusive interview with Tommy Hunt – regarding NBN, this season, and a look at what’s ahead for OPXC/TF.