TSR's Profiles of Greatness - Holly Hunter

By: Mike Mcmillion

Holly Hunter Biography


Holly Marie Hunter (born on December 24, 1981) was a West Virginia high school female middle-distance runner. She was born in Tennessee however, while growing up she moved to three other states including Delaware, Pennsylvania, and finally West Virginia by March of Hunter’s 5th grade year. She is the daughter of the late Sallie and Bruce Hunter who had four children, Sara, Kari, William and Holly.

As a youngster Holly was super shy, so her mom would sign her up for different sports in hopes that it fit or she liked it. She started swimming when she was around 9 or 10 while living in Pittsburgh, PA. Before that she played indoor soccer for a short season and had briefly done gymnastics, but neither really peaked her interest. Once she started swimming she loved it and began swimming competitively year round. She continued to swim competitively after moving to WV. She began with FAST, but then swam for MAC (Morgantown Aquatic Club). The drive to Morgantown every day had started to become a little much with school, so she decided to take a break from it.

Hunter went to East Fairmont High School from the fall of 1996 to the spring of 2000 where she excelled at track and cross country. She started running her freshman year in high school, because her brother Will convinced her to join the cross country team as a good way to make friends.

While in high school, Hunter was coached by Alice Muto her freshman year of cross country and by her mother, Sallie Hunter for four years of track and three years of cross-country.

Hunter saw success very early in her running career. It only took a few meets her freshman year to see that she had talent to compete in the top ten and she did just that. The first meet she won was a weekly meet at North Marion, but the winning didn’t stop there and for an individual never running before her freshman year of high school, she did the unthinkable and won a state meet in just a few months of training. It’s even more phenomenal to think she did this by running just 30-35 miles a week throughout her high school career.

Hunter said cross country was always her favorite and she preferred it over track. She was a state cross country champion in three of her four high school seasons - 1996, 1997, 1999.

She was a four-year letter winner and four-time NCAC Runner of the Year. Her top performance at the 5K distance was 18:21 and she was the owner of several course records.

She was state champion and undefeated in four years of high school track. She held state records in the 800m (2:17), 1,600m (5:02) and 3,200m (11:04). She was a Wendy’s High School Heisman State finalist, All-South Foot Locker cross country runner, and a senior athlete of the year at East Fairmont High. She was also an all-state swimmer in several events.

After high school, Hunter attended Virginia Tech from the fall of 2000 to spring 2005 where she ran cross country and track. While at Virginia Tech she studied Elementary Education.

During her freshman year she was coached for one season by Lori Taylor the wife of Steve Taylor. “[I chose to go to Virginia Tech] because I fell in love with the campus and looked at coaches Steve and Lori Taylor as being parents away from home” said Hunter.

Lori Taylor only ended up coaching Holly for her freshman year at VT. There was a big coaching change her sophomore year causing many of the scholarship people, and Hunter herself to get kicked off the team. She ran her freshman and sophomore year and then walked on her fifth year.

After an injury plagued start, Hunter made an immediate impact as a rookie. She placed in Tech’s top seven in each of her races and as a top five performer three times. Her highest finish was twelfth at the Hall of Fame Invitational. She earned another top fifteen performance with a season best 18:32.96 at the Disney Classic. She held the best outdoor performance on the team in the 3,000 meter with a time of 10:40.97 at Sea Ray Relays. She captured fourth in the 800 meter run at the CNU invitational.

In 2005, she married Doctor Larry Gooss a former Virginia Tech runner. They have three daughters, where they live in Midlothian, Virginia.

In 2007, Holly, husband Larry, brother Will and seven other former East Fairmont High cross country runners turned out to run the Run to Read 5K in memory of their former coach, Sallie Hunter, who died of breast cancer on May 31, 2007.

Steve and Lori Taylor, recently spotted her in Richmond running a Half-Marathon.


High School Running Career


West Virginia High School State XC Championships:

· 1996: 5000 meters / 1st place / 20:49 / 11-02-1996 (Elkins, WV)

· 1997: 5000 meters / 1st place / 20:56.00 / 11-01-1997 (Elkins, WV)

· 1998: 5000 meters / 2nd place / 18:58.00 / 10-31-1998 (Williamstown, WV)

· 1999: 5000 meters / 1st place/ 18:36.80 / 10-30-1999 (Williamstown, WV)


Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championships:

· 1996: No results found

· 1997: 5000 meters / 47th place / 18:58.90 / 11-29-1997 (McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte, NC)

· 1998: 5000 meters / 27th place / 19:01 / 11-28-1998 (McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte, NC)

· 1999: 5000 meters / 15th place / 18:33.40 / 11-27-1999 (McAlpine Greenway Park in Charlotte, NC)


West Virginia High School State Track Championships:

· 1997: 800 meters / 2nd place / 2:22.56; 1,600 meters / 1st place / 5:09.38 (record); 3,200 meters / 1st place / 11:18.31 (Record); (Laidley Field/Charleston, WV)

· 1998: 800 meters / 1st place / 2:17.35 (Record); 1,600 meters / 1st place / 5:05.12 (Record); 3,200 meters /1st place / 11:09.09 (Record) (Laidley Field/Charleston, WV)

· 1999: 800 meters / 1st place / 2:18.18; 1,600 meters / 1st place / 5:06.46; 3,200 meters /1st place / 11:06.04 (Record) (Laidley Field/Charleston, WV)

· 2000: 800 meters / 3rd place / 2:19.94; 1,600 meters / 1st place / 5:04.00 (Record); 3,200 meters / 1st place / 11:10.00 (Laidley Field/Charleston, WV)


Other Notables:

· 2000: One Mile Run / 1st place / 5:05.72 / 07-01-2000 (New Balance Maine Distance Festival)


College Running Career


2000 Results (Cross Country):

· Alumni Meet / 2 Miles / DNR

· Virginia Tech Invitational / 3.1 miles / DNR

· Great American Festival / 3.1 miles / 18:50.1 (60th)

· Walt Disney World Classic / 3.1 miles / 18:32.56 (13th)

· Hall of Fame Invitational / 3.1 miles / 19:03.54 (12th)

· Big East Championships / 3.1 miles/ 18:54 (56th)

· NCAA Regionals / 6 Kilometers / 24:09 (100th)

· ECAC Championships / 3.1 miles / DNR


2001 Results (Cross Country):

· Alumni Meet / 2 miles / 13:09 (4th)

· Great American Festival / 3.1 miles / 19:42

· Greensboro Invitational / 3.1 miles / 19:07

· Big East Championships / 6 Kilometers / DNR

· NCAA Regionals / 6 Kilometers / 24:24 (103rd)


2002 Results (Cross Country):

· No results found


2003 Results (Cross Country):

· No results found


2004 Results (Cross Country):

· Festival in the Fields / 4 Kilometers / 16:06.24 (24th)

· Lou Onesty Invitational / 5 Kilometers / 19:42.00 (24th)

· Bobcat Invitational / 6.4 Kilometers / 18:56 (7th)

· Virginia Tech Invitational / 4.7 Kilometers / DNR

· Chile Pepper Invitational / 6 Kilometers / 23:17.6 (91st)

· ACC Championships / 6 Kilometers / 24:34.1 (52nd)

· NCAA Southeast Regional Championships / 6 Kilometers / DNR


Holly Hunter biography compiled by Mike McMillion

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