Hunter makes all-state team

Published 8:44pm Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Apprentice School junior golfer and Suffolk native Ben Hunter has been named to the Virginia Sports Information Directors All-State College Division first team.

While VaSID has voted on all-state teams over the years, this was the first time for golf, and there were only five golfers recognized in the College Division, which includes 28 non-Division I schools in Virginia.

Suffolk native and Apprentice School junior Ben Hunter was one of only five golfers in the state to make the inaugural Virginia Sports Information Directors All-State College Division first team. He had four wins and four second place finishes during his junior year, and led his team with a stroke average of 74.67. (John Whalen/NNS Photography)
Suffolk native and Apprentice School junior Ben Hunter was one of only five golfers in the state to make the inaugural Virginia Sports Information Directors All-State College Division first team. He had four wins and four second place finishes during his junior year, and led his team with a stroke average of 74.67. (John Whalen/NNS Photography)

For Jim Heath, the sports information director at The Apprentice School, nominating Hunter was an easy choice.

“Just the fact of four first places this year, four second-place finishes in events this year, a three-time (United States Collegiate Athletic Association) All-American,” he said. “Granted, you’re not really supposed to go back on his past performance, but knowing he’s been the top three of our national tournament the last three years, to me, was a hole in one.”

Hunter led the team with a 74.67 stroke average and broke the school record for lowest round with a 67 in a season-opening dual match against Louisburg College in August. Then, to close the season in April at the Glenn Heath Shipbuilders Memorial tournament in Williamsburg, he set a new school mark for lowest tournament score with a two-day 141.

Hunter shared his reaction to being honored in such a select group the first time it was ever selected.

“First off, it was definitely a surprise when I first got the e-mail and when I saw my name, it made me feel really good, actually,” he said. “And then that I made first team, the first time that they ever did it, it’s definitely an honor, something to be proud of, for sure.”

Apprentice School head golf coach Joey Maben said Hunter was getting the recognition he deserved with the award.

“I felt like Ben would be in the running, and when they only pick five players in the state, that again attributes to what Ben is all about,” he said.

Maben credited Hunter’s steady play for his success this season, but also his activity between competitions.

“His practice sessions are very good, as well, too, so I think that contributes to help win these golf tournaments,” Maben said.

Hunter also pointed to this same thing as the key to his junior-year success.

“From the beginning of the season, I told myself I was going to dedicate this year to just practicing more,” he said. “I’ve never really been the one to practice constantly throughout the week or on the weekend, but I just told myself, ‘This year I’m going to practice as much as I can,’ and that’s pretty much what did it for me.”

Maben praised Hunter’s family for the support they have shown the young golfer, who is also a rigger apprentice at the school.

“I’m very impressed with his parents that back him 100 percent,” Maben said. “That means a lot to young athletes today.”

Hunter strives to do better, noting that he still fell short of his personal expectations for his junior year.

“No, I didn’t meet my expectations, but I’m still grateful for the recognition I received,” he said.

And he said that this honor helps galvanize his motivation for a senior year in which he aims to help the team bring home a national championship.

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