Dakota Wesleyan’s Hunter Bork sets national record with performance

By: Justin Rust, The Daily Republic

Hunter Bork did not just win the high jump title at the Paralympic Games on June 16-19 in Miramar, Fla., he also set an American record in the event.

On Monday morning in a text from Dakota Wesleyan track and field coach Pat Belling, Bork found out his winning mark of 4-feet, 10.25-inches was also the new American record.

“Honestly, I got the text (Monday) morning and I was like ‘huh, that’s pretty sweet,’ ” said Bork in an interview with The Daily Republic. “I didn’t expect it.”

Bork, who finished his sophomore year at DWU, was 18 when he had his left leg amputated after he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma — a cancerous bone tumor.

Bork is still able to compete in track and field, though, as he uses a special running prosthesis. He competes for the DWU track and field team.

At the Paralympics — which is open to all male and female athletes with amputation or limb losses, athletes with physical disabilities such as dwarfism, blindness, spinal cord injuries, wheelchair use and cerebral palsy — Bork not only won the high jump competition, but he finished third in the long jump and seventh in the 100-meter dash.

Bork said he had no idea that he broke the record in the high jump, or even what the record was before the event started.

“Honestly, I didn’t think about it,” he said. “The only thing I went down to Florida for was to compete and do my best. I wasn’t looking at any record.”

The Paralympics ended Bork’s training for the summer. Even though he won an event at the Paralympics, he was told he was not accepted to the Para Pan American Games, which are held every four years. The Para Pan American Games will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from Nov. 14-20.

“I was not accepted to that,” Bork said. “The person said, hopefully, in the next couple of years if I get more involved and stuff, I could be.”

With his competitions over for the summer, Bork is spending time with his friends before he starts training again when DWU starts its fall semester.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to hang out with my friends since I was training and traveling,” he said. “School is already around the corner … I am assuming when school starts, I will start training again.”

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