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Running After A Dream

April 4, 2011, 10:10 PM by Don Jorgensen

Running After A Dream
MITCHELL, SD - Track season is in full swing at area high schools and colleges and a young sprinter from Dakota Wesleyan University is wowing fans this year, not because of his legs but rather his heart.

This is Hunter Bork's second year on the Dakota Wesleyan Track team. He's competed in over a dozen meets so far and every time he runs a race, he comes in dead last.

But he doesn't let that get him down. 

"I used to, but not anymore. My time got a little better and the guy between me and them have shortened up quite a bit. I've increased a full second since last year," Hunter said.

Ironically that's about the same time it took for Hunter's life to change forever. Hunter has a prosthetic leg. 

"I get a lot of sympathy claps from time to time, I guess I don't like it, but it's whatever," Hunter said.

Hunter lost his leg a couple of years ago to cancer. But that hasn't slowed him down in chasing his dream to compete on the college level. 

"After I lost my leg, I couldn't play football so as soon as I heard about the opportunity I could get a running prosthetic, I immediately wanted to go back into track," Hunter said.

DWU track coach Pat Belling was willing to give Hunter a shot and offered him a scholarship. 

Belling: I had heard he had ran track in the past and I was interested in having him come run for us.
Don Jorgensen: Can he compete?
Belling: Absolutely.

That's exactly what Hunter did this past weekend. Up until now, Hunter had only competed in the 60-meter race during indoor meets. But Saturday, he got to run outdoors at Howard Wood Field in the open 100.

It's the first step for Hunter to try and qualify for the Paralympics.

"I'm really excited because there isn't an indoor Paralympics so it's all outdoors.  This is where I get to shine and hopefully qualify," Hunter said.

As always, Hunter came in last.

"Obviously, unless somebody falls, I'm always going to lose in an able-bodied meet, but if I can get to a Para meet, I expect to place.  I've never run against another person with one leg; I'm really excited if I qualify to do that," Hunter said. 

Reaching the Paralympics is one of Hunter's goals. His other goal has nothing to do with track or himself.

Hunter changed his major this year from athletic training to psychology. He wants to be a counselor at Sanford Children's Hospital to work with kids who have cancer. It's the same place he went for treatment.

"When I was going through chemo, some of the counselors would always say the line, 'I know what you're going through.'  And I understand why they said that, but they have no idea what I was going through," Hunter said.

Hunter says working as a counselor would be one way for him to give back.

"If I was able to go and talk to children and if they are bummed out, I can literally say, 'I've been through it.'  And if they don't believe me, I have proof; I have one leg and have been through it," Hunter said.

Proving, Hunter may never win a race out here on the track, but he know he's already beat his toughest opponent.

Hunter just had his two year check up and is cancer free. In order to qualify for the Paralympics, he needs to run in the low 16s in the 100 meters and right now he's in the mid to high 16s.

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