The Hunt for Success
Missouri produced one of the best shot-putters in the world. Former Tiger Christian Cantwell from Eldon just won the USA indoor title. A current tiger from just down the road in Linn is in the hunt for national titles. It seems simple. You take a 20 pound weight and whip it through the air. Elisha Hunt does it better than just about any woman in the nation.
"She's got great feet. Great sense of balance. Brilliant athlete. Blessed with great strength and leverage," said Missouri throwing coach Brett Halter.
But all those skills were useless in a careless moment.
"You're at practice one day and for whatever reason not paying attention... Retrieving a hammer. Someone else was throwing and got hit in the pelvis," remembered Missouri junior thrower Elisha Hunt.
It fractured her pelvis.
"These things are dangerous. I mean implements of war. You gotta be really cautious about what you're doing," said coach Halter.
A couple months of rehab kept Hunt out of the outdoor track and field season. Hunt had to overcome the injury and fear of getting back in the ring, but when she returned she came with a renewed sense of purpose.
"Do your best everyday. This is what I love to do and I'm glad I can do it for a while longer," said Hunt.
"Once you have something taken away you realize how important it is to you. She came back and was really a better athlete after her injury than she was prior to," recalled coach Halter.
Just to get to the NCAA Championships you need to be in the Sweet 16 of hammer throwers. Hunt qualified 15th.
"It didn't even feel like a 68 foot throw. I guess that's a good thing," said Hunt.
Good enough for fourth place in the NCAA. The throw blew away her previous best by two feet. A year after breaking her pelvis, Hunt broke her own school record.
"Pretty amazing when you reflect on what difference a year can make," said coach Halter.
"I worked hard and it took forever, but I'm really pleased with where I ended up," said Hunt.
Tiger throwing coach Brett Halter first found the athletic Hunt at Cindy Stein's basketball camp in 8th grade. He says her footwork and strength were clues that she'd make a good thrower for Mizzou.
Next for Hunt, she'll start the outdoor season at Arizona State next weekend.