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June 8, 2014

New Albany resident heading to Special Olympics USA Games

Eric Hunter plays for Pitt Academy basketball team

NEW ALBANY — Eric Hunter can still hear the cheers. With a berth to the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games on the line, Hunter hit two three-pointers in the final minutes to lift Pitt Academy in Louisville to victory.

“After I hit those two three-pointers the gym went crazy,” said Hunter, 32, and New Albany resident. “I love the Louisville Cardinals and I felt like I was playing for them.”

Hunter and his teammates will now compete in the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games in Princeton, N.J., next week after capturing the Kentucky state title. Opening ceremonies will be held June 15.

Hunter is no stranger to success. He has captured 20 medals during his Special Olympics career in basketball, flag football and soccer, eight of those gold. He said he was motivated this year by his dad Harold, who died in 2011. He also said he remembers watching his brother David play basketball and football at New Albany High School.

“What makes this so special is I lost my dad in 2011 and since he is not here, I am doing this for him,” Hunter said. “I offer it up to him. If my dad was alive, he would have gone to watch me.

“You get to pick your own number. I picked number 53. That was my brother David’s number when he played at New Albany.”

Hunter had to raise $1,800 in six months in order to make the trip. He said he was able to do it by selling carnations at the Knights of Columbus fish frys and by selling candy bars. Mike Stallings, owner of Pacers & Racers, put him over his goal with a $200 donation.

Hunter is a member of the K of C and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in New Albany. He said he can’t wait to play in the USA Games.

“From what I heard it will be a huge battle,” he said of the competition. “I am going to have to do my thing.”

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