Senior sprinter and hurdler Hunter Roberts has her eyes set on breaking school records before she graduates, but her legacy at Wake Forest will reach far beyond the track.
In competition, do you prefer indoor or outdoor track?
I’d say outdoor. It’s longer and indoor season sort of gets you ready for outdoor. We travel more and there’s more sunshine, but the downside is also weather. We can’t control rain, wind and things like that.
What events do you run?
Short sprints and hurdles. Indoor, I run the 60-meter, 60-meter hurdles and 200-meter, and outdoor, 100-meter, 100-meter hurdles, 400 relay and 200-meter.
What’s your favorite event?
100-meter hurdles, easily.
Why is that?
I’m a strong finisher, so having the extra distance allows me to have extra time to catch people.
We know that as a senior you made the decision a while ago, but why did you choose Wake Forest?
For me, I was looking to be a track star; you know, go and out and do great things on the track.
Off of the track, though, I wanted to make a difference in myself, firstly, and also in the community.
I’m from Greensboro, so Wake Forest is close to home, and I love having my mom down the street teaching.
The small classrooms and the health-based parts of health and exercise science are great for me. It just felt right.
Everywhere I went, I saw Wake Forest posters, Wake Forest stickers on the back of people’s cars and I’m really a strong Christian, so I was like, these are signs.
These are signs from God that this is where I’m supposed to be.
How have you grown as a person and an athlete?
Freshman year, coming in, I was very independent.
I trained all by myself in high school, and with my dad who was my coach, and I made good grades without having to depend on anyone.
In college, with a lot of the controversy that I’ve had to deal with like loss in the family, sickness and things like that, I’ve learned to trust people and to allow people in to help me.
Also, I would say that I’ve learned some of the cliché stuff — learning about friendship, learning about love and learning about loyalty.
I think the biggest thing other than becoming dependent is just learning how to be myself and allow my true colors to shine through. I can be as goofy and weird with my teammates as I want and they’ll still love me no matter what.
How do you juggle the demands of life as a student athlete?
For one, we have amazing resources in student-athlete development.
Having a structured schedule works, like having class in the morning, practice in the afternoon and for me, class in the evening also.
For me, it’s naps. Naps are the biggest thing. I nap after class and after practice to sort of separate school and track.
Would you say the track team is your rock at Wake Forest?
I would say the track team is only a part. I don’t like to identify as just an athlete.
I’m involved with Athletes in Action, which is a huge rock for me, track is a rock for me, Black Student Alliance is a rock for me and just my regular friends are rocks for me.
I would say the whole Wake Forest community is a rock for me.
There are different little rocks in there that kind of help build the big rock.
What are your personal goals for this year? Are they the same every year?
No, they change. This year in particular there’s a lot I’m trying to accomplish. After last week’s race, I can now think about school records. I can think about breaking the indoor 60 M hurdle record, the outdoor 100 M record.
I want an ACC medal really badly; The ACC now gives medals to the top six, so my goal is to make the finals, indoor or outdoor, and get a medal.
I want to help my team score in the outdoor especially.
Other than that, just try to cap off my Wake Forest track experience in the best possible way and leave a lasting legacy for my teammates.
As a senior, do you feel like you’ve taken on a role as a mentor for some of the younger members of the team, on and off the track?
Absolutely. Growing up, that was kind of like my family’s role.
I grew up seeing my dad be a coach to students and athletes all over the High Point-Greensboro-Winston-Salem area.
He devoted his life to giving back to people, so I was seeing that and said ‘oh, I want to do the same thing.’ As much as I can, when I’m not napping or running, I’m trying to give back both on and off campus. I’m getting involved with Campus Kitchen, we’re involved with HOPE, giving food, Eat with the Deacs — and helping kids. I actually just came back from my mom’s school today talking to her students about healthy eating and diet — she teaches at Moore Magnet elementary. This goes back to what I said before; I just want to leave a legacy behind not just track-wise, but as a person, so when people say ‘Who was Hunter Roberts?’ they’ll say ‘She was this great person,’ not just a track athlete or a singer.