There have been a select few Denison athletes who can find success in multiple sports and Jaydan Hunt is the latest Lady Yellow Jacket to carry that mantle.
Regardless of the athletic avenue she chose to take, the senior was able to compete at the highest level. In the final month of her high school career, Hunt announced her decision to play softball for Hendrix College on Friday morning.
She chose the Warriors over McMurry University, Paris Junior College, North Texas Central College and Weatherford.
“It did take me a little bit to decide,” Hunt said. “I had a strong connection when I visited Hendrix. There wasn’t any other visits that made me feel like Hendrix.”
A four-year varsity starter, Hunt helped lead the Lady Yellow Jackets to their first playoff appearance since 2012 and the first district title since 2006 before a bi-district loss against Aledo. She led the team with a .436 batting average, 29 RBI and 14 doubles. She was second on the team with three home runs and 10 walks and also has served as the team’s pitcher.
“I don’t mind pitching if they need me too but I’d like to move out of the circle for a little bit,” said Hunt, preferring to play the outfield.
She hit .265 with 19 RBI in her first taste of varsity competition and then took a big leap forward. Hunt hit .408 with four homers and 14 RBI as a sophomore and then batted .384 with four homers and 20 RBI as a junior.
She was honorable mention all-district as a freshman, second-team honorable mention as a sophomore and first-team all-district as a junior. This past season she was the District 5-5A Most Valuable Player.
Hunt has been one of the best all-around athletes at Denison. Early in her career she was a varsity volleyball and basketball player before concentrating solely on softball.
“All the other sports, I enjoyed playing,” Hunt said. “I didn’t have that drive like I do in softball. I had that extra drive to go to the next level.”
She not only qualified for the state powerlifting meet for the first time as a senior she came away with the championship in her weight class. Hunt and Julia McGinnis of College Station tied with a total of 980 pounds at 165 pounds but Hunt weighed less than McGinnis, which is the tie-breaker, to give her the title.
Hunt set personal records on all three state lifts — 375 pounds in the squat, tied for the best bench at 225 pounds and then pulled even with McGinnis at 380 pounds on the deadlift after entering the final lift down 10 pounds.
She has also been the district champion in the shot put and discus the past two years and qualified for the region track meet all four years, including a third-place finish this year in the discus at 125 feet, five inches and was in the running to make the state meet as the wild card to go with a fifth-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 36 feet, 11 and a quarter inches.
“They are letting me do softball and track,” Hunt said. “I’m surprised they’re trying to make it work for track since they are at the same time.”
Hendrix College went 18-20 this past season and placed third in the Southern Athletic Association Tournament last month after finishing fifth in the regular-season standings. In 2016 Hendrix was 21-18 and made the quarterfinals of the SAA Tournament following another fifth-place finish.
There were just two seniors on the roster this past spring but three of the six outfielders on the roster will be seniors next season.
“I didn’t honestly think about the playing time,” Hunt said. “There’s always a spot. It’s just a matter of working for it.”