Hunter earns new accolades

Published 10:51 pm Friday, June 6, 2014

Golfer Ben Hunter of Suffolk has begun reaping a final harvest of collegiate awards after an outstanding senior season that capped off a remarkable career at The Apprentice School.

He recently was named the 2013-2014 Apprentice School Athlete of the Year.

Suffolk’s Ben Hunter has garnered new accolades as his college career comes to a close, including being named the 2013-14 Apprentice School Athlete of the Year. (John Whalen/Newport News Shipbuilding)

Suffolk’s Ben Hunter has garnered new accolades as his college career comes to a close, including being named the 2013-14 Apprentice School Athlete of the Year. (John Whalen/Newport News Shipbuilding)

“That whole thing just took me by surprise,” he said of the honor. “It’s definitely something special.”

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Hunter was the first golfer to win the award since the 2007-08 season, when current Builders assistant golf coach B.J. Maben shared it in his senior year with a football player.

Maben said he was excited for Hunter to receive the honor.

“He’s actually the first golfer ever to receive the award by himself,” Maben said.

Maben’s father, Builders head golf coach, Joey Maben, saw the award as a way to recognize everything that Hunter has achieved with the golf program over the last four years.

“I think it’s an outstanding and well-deserved honor for Ben,” Joey Maben said. “It is a career accomplishment, for sure.”

Hunter finishes his career with the Builders as the holder of essentially every school golf record. Among those records, he shot the lowest round ever, 67, and produced the lowest two-round tournament score ever, 141, both during his junior season, and he has 19 rounds of par or under in his career.

He demonstrated consistency all four years, winning 18 medalist honors and finishing with a 75.7-stroke average through almost 90 rounds. He won the individual United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship as a freshman and as a senior.

Hunter also recently was named to the first team All-State College Division golf team by the Virginia Sports Information Directors Association for the second straight year.

“Once again, I’m just grateful and just very fortunate to be recognized,” Hunter said of the honor, on the heels of having reacted to his Athlete of the Year honor. “Everything is just a blur right now.”

Coach Joey Maben noted the select company Hunter had on the first team, including golfers from strong programs at Averett University, Christopher Newport University and Hampden-Sydney College.

“To be mentioned with those guys there, that just says even more about Ben,” Joey Maben said.

Hunter’s final event as a Builder was the PGA Minority Collegiate Championships, where he competed individually.

It was the first time an Apprentice School golfer had been invited to the event, and he finished seventh among a field of mainly NCAA Division I and II players.

This is not the end of golf for Hunter, though.

“I plan on pursuing my career professionally,” he said. “That’s my dream, and I’m going to go for it.”

In terms of his legacy at the Apprentice School, Hunter said he wants to be remembered for his determination, his focus and his refusal to settle for anything less than the best.

He will be presented the Apprentice School Athlete of the Year award at the Peninsula Sports Club Headliners Night on June 16.