Ariel Hune and her mom, Tammy Wilson Hune, have a great deal in common other than just their solid mother-daughter relationship. Tammy Wilson was a two-time All American women’s basketball player at Central Missouri State University and a superb performer in track. Maybe it will be another one of those mother-daughter scenarios you often hear about. You know – like mother, like daughter.
“Being around mom gives me a lot of additional energy and enthusiasm to excel. It instills a lot of confidence in me. I want to be great like she was,” Ariel, a senior at Carmel High School, says matter of factly. “I want to win state in the 400 this spring (she was fifth last year). I want to help our 4×400 relay win.” Ariel is one of 3 runners back, and she’s the only runner back from the 4×800 relay team that won state. Carmel’s 4×800 relay teams have won four straight state championships. “Our relay members look at this like the girls championship swim team members do about winning all those (27 straight) titles. We don’t want to be the class that is the first to lose (in the 4×800),” Ariel said in a confident and determined manner.
Then she paused, put a hand over her mouth, and chuckled while talking about her mom. “Mom says ’That’s my DNA over there’ when I do well. That’s her way of letting me and everyone else know how proud she is of my accomplishments. And mom says there’s no reason for me to lose this season – that all the ones who beat me last year have graduated – and with my work ethic and determination there’s no reason I shouldn’t achieve all my goals.” Ariel certainly has good genes.
So does her bother, Kendall, a 6-2, 240-pound sophomore who throws the shot put and plays football and wears size 14 shoes. He was mentored last season by Langston Newton, an all-state athlete in football who won both shot put and discus at state in 2012 and is now at the University of Kentucky.
And Ariel’s youngest sister, Regan, is a 12-year-old sixth grader who is a whiz-bang performer in basketball, soccer, and track according to dad, Ken, who moved his family from St. Louis to Carmel four years ago.
The DNA certainly runs deep. Ken played all the major sports in high school and even competed in the Armed Forces, where he’s a veteran of the first Gulf War. He didn’t play sports in college after finishing his service obligations, though he met his wife of 20 years in college.
Ariel says she gets much of her work ethic from her mom; and though pretty easy going, Ariel made it clear that she does not like people who doubt her.
“I’ll do whatever is needed, whatever is asked of me to excel. Don’t tell me I can’t do something, because I’ll do my best to prove you wrong,” Ariel said.
Said Nick Brattain, IU Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at IU Health Sports Performance, and Ariel’s personal trainer at the popular Carmel facility: “Ariel is a tremendous athlete. She is someone who is naturally gifted but does not rely on that. She is willing to out work anyone, male or female, whether it be on the track or in the weight room.
She needs no added motivation. She knows what her goals are, and she works every day to get them, said Brattain. “In the past year, she has overcome injuries and setbacks that never stopped her or deterred her from her goals. She is a great athlete and person, and I am grateful for the privilege to work with her.”
She’s a powerful runner, whether in short or distance events. Said her high school coach, Tim Mylin: “Ariel is unique in that she is primarily stronger (in the 400 and 200), but last year we moved her up to the 3,200 relay. She works primarily with the sprint group, but I move her to my group 1-2 days a week throughout the season.” The 4×800 relay under Mylin has won 9 of the 17 IHSAA state titles since its inception in 1996. Dan Shoop is Ariel’s sprint coach.
Such a transition in events has not been a problem for Hune, who has a full scholarship offer from Ball State but says she’s still looking at some other schools, including Purdue and Notre Dame.
Ariel strained her hip flex in the middle of the 2012 season. She was injured at the start of the conference (MIC) season and right before the postseason got underway. Amazingly, she still finished second in the conference 400. She also placed first in the Hamilton County meet, sectional, and regional before finishing 5th at state in the 400, running her best outdoor time of 57.3.
Ariel says that training with the Greyhound boys track team in the summer helped make her better and tougher. She played basketball as a freshman, and honed her game against the boys on the outdoor courts. But she realized she wanted to devote all her time to track. “I’m expected to train as hard as the boys, and I do. The boys, at times, would try to take it easy on me. I told them not to be soft on me – that I can take it, and I can dish it out,” said Ariel, who serves as a Greyhound Mentor helping incoming freshman learn the ropes and do the right things in the classroom and on and off the school campus. And she works with the Outreach Program for homeless youth.
She might have become a little emotional had the conversation continued on about the homeless youth. “It’s just sad, a sad thing. It’s not right when you see these kids and learn of their struggles. No one should be dealt such a hand like they have been dealt,” she said, shaking her head. “They’re good kids, and they just want a chance.’’
Ariel, too, just wants a chance to excel, make her mark, and, hopefully, be like mom. Some how, some way, you just know mom will be at the finish line ready to give her daughter a high-five and a big hug each time she breaks that tape.Read more