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Former MU thrower enjoys coaching at Rock Bridge

Friday, April 29, 2011 | 8:07 p.m. CDT; updated 8:51 p.m. CDT, Friday, April 29, 2011
Elisha Hunt, a throws coach for the Rock Bridge track team, still owns the MU record for the weight toss. She is set to complete a graduate degree this May in MU's health education and promotion program.

Elisha Hunt is the MU record holder in the weight throw at 63 feet, 7 3/4. She set that mark four years ago, and her days of throwing competitively have been over for three.

But her days of coaching are just beginning.

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This spring, Hunt began coaching throwers at Rock Bridge High School.

As Rock Bridge coach Neal Blackburn was looking for a new throws coach for this spring, he decided to give Missouri coach Brett Halter a call.

"(Missouri) Coach (Brett) Halter has some of the best throwers in the country, and I thought man, it would be great if we could get some of his former athletes to coach," Blackburn said.

A couple days later, Halter called back and put Blackburn in touch with Hunt.

"We were definitely on the same plane of what our expectations and goals were," Blackburn said of Hunt. "I thought it was a perfect match."

Hunt grew up in Linn, a small town about an hour southeast of Columbia "with more cows than people," she said. She has been in Columbia since her freshman year at MU in 2004. Hunt is finishing a graduate degree in health education and promotion at MU and will graduate in May. But graduation won't stop her from sticking around for another year.

Hunt said that she was nervous about coaching high school kids at first, but that the experience has been nothing but positive. 

"I can't get enough of them, they're the best part of my day," Hunt said. "They're funny, and they work hard."

Hunt's athletes get their next chance to compete Saturday morning at the Dale Collier Invitational in Kirkwood.

Hunt met Halter when she came to her first Missouri track and field camp as an eighth grader. Hunt kept coming back for those camps, and when it was time to choose where she was going for college, the decision didn't take long.

"It was a real easy choice," Hunt said. "I remember after I left the first track camp I ever came to, I got into the car to go home with my dad, and I just kind of looked at my dad and said, 'This is where I want to go to school.'"

Eventually, Hunt could face another choice of which college to end up at.

"Eventually the goal is to end up in collegiate coaching, but I decided that I'm going to stay in Columbia for another year and coach these kids again," Hunt said. "Hopefully from there, it'll give me enough experience and open the door to something collegiately."

Nobody is happier than Blackburn that Hunt plans on coaching Rock Bridge for at least another season, though.

"I really like having a female working with the throwers," Blackburn said. "I think it's good, it gives a lot of our young girls a role model, and someone that can encourage them in that way, and she's got the guys' respect because she can throw farther than most of them."


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