YANKTON, S.D. — Throughout the 2020-21 indoor track season, Hunter Hoover has been on a mission — one that involves proving that he is one of the best distance runners in the country, regardless of association.
The senior successfully did that in Saturday afternoon’s 3,000-meter run, running straight into NAIA All-American status in the first-ever national championship event that Hoover competed in at the 2021 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships in Yankton, S.D.
Hoover — who ran a 8:39.58 to finish in fifth place — not only finished in the top-five nationally en route to earning All-American status, but also finished less than four seconds back of the overall winner, Milligan’s Nathan Baker.
The duo — along with Oklahoma City’s Shimales Abebe, Indiana Wesleyan’s Landon Miller and Huntington (Ind.)’s Adrien Gentie — were the only runners to run under 8:40 in the event.
The Waverly product, who notched a 9:11.40 in the first 3,000-meter run of his career in 2018, ran times throughout the year that were consistent with improvement between 30 to 50 seconds faster than his freshman campaign.
Hoover’s best time in the event was a 8:24.22 — a time that was 47 seconds faster than his first collegiate 3,000-meter race.
With his NAIA All-American status, Hoover pushes the streak of the SSU men’s indoor track and field program notching an NAIA All-American to four.
Seth Farmer started the streak with three consecutive NAIA All-American times in the one mile, including the latter’s national championship in the event in 2019.
Both are Pike County natives.
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