Hendershot commits to Illini, still hopeful for chance to compete this spring

Sports

Defending Class 2A state champion in shot put, discus continues to practice in backyard despite coronavirus pandemic keeping him out of school

MAHOMET (WCIA) — Hunter Hendershot is making the most of his time at home. Granted not everyone has a throwing ring in their backyard.

“It’s a concrete pad,” Hendershot said of his backyard setup. “So when the weather’s nice, I’ve just been going out there and throwing as much as possible.”

The Mahomet-Seymour senior is anxiously awaiting to find out if he’ll get the chance to throw again in high school after the coronavirus pandemic put school and athletics on hold. The 6-foot-1 standout says he has more things to accomplish before college.

“It’s pretty tricky,” he said. “It’s been hard to think about. I mean I’ve done a lot so far so that kind of came across my head. I’ve already got both school records, I’ve got three state titles, which is pretty nice. The only thing I’m really going to miss, if the track season is canceled, is getting those 2A records.”

Hendershot didn’t wait for the pandemic to clear up before announcing his plans for next year, committing to Illinois last week. He got more than 200 letters from schools across the country but he wanted to stay close to his family. Fortunately for him, he didn’t have to look far.

“I wanted to go big or go home, so definitely had to pick the U of I,” he said.

Illinois director of track and field Mike Turk lives in Mahomet and has been watching Hendershot since middle school. Bulldogs’ head coach Todd Lafond knew Hendershot had big time potential all along.

“I saw him maybe his second practice his freshman year and I said, ‘Man, that kid is a natural,'” Lafond said. “I think they got a real gem because I think this best years and his best throws are coming.”

“The sky’s the limit,” Hendershot said about his future as an Illini. “I just want to do some great things in college. Hopefully score some points my freshman year, just set the bar super high and push the other athletes there and have them push me to be my best.”

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