Hornets' Fundak signs with Marauders

·4 min read

May 1—Luke Fundak came to Aiken High from Washington as a junior and thrived in a new environment.

He wasted little time making his presence known as one of the area's top distance runners, and this past summer he went all-in with his training to become just as proficient throwing the javelin.

He's done so well with both to earn the opportunity to continue competing in another new environment — at the collegiate level. Fundak recently signed to join the cross country and track and field programs at the University of Mary, an NCAA Division II member in North Dakota.

"It's going to be a lot of fun, but just being able to go so much further, a lot further than state, with my throws or my running and whatnot, being able to compete with people from all over the country instead of just the southeast," Fundak said. "Furthermore, I'm super excited to work with the coaches and athletes. ... They're really hard-working people up there, great coaches, and I'm super excited to work with them."

Fundak knew of the school from when he lived in Washington, and he said it's an outstanding engineering school (he plans to major in civil engineering) in a beautiful part of the country.

He immediately became a key piece of a Hornets' cross country team that has won eight consecutive region championships. He finished second individually as a junior, then this past fall he edged younger brother Adam to win the individual title.

"He's a real mature person. He came in, he's real disciplined and he works hard," said Aiken cross country head coach Roger Carpenter. "He listens to everything you tell him, and he does extras, too. He already has everything he probably will need, and maybe more, to be successful in college."

The javelin was something Fundak had been introduced to as a freshman, only he was a much more serious baseball player at the time. His success during cross country season swayed him toward giving track and field a shot this year, and he converted a lot of skills he utilized on the baseball field over to the runway for the javelin.

And then he just kept improving. He's now ranked second in the state in Class AAAA and also holds the Hornets' program record, a mark he re-sets nearly every time he competes.

"He's been a phenomenal leader," said Hornets track and field head coach John Hostetler. "I've enjoyed his presence since he's been here, and his younger brother is up and coming, as well. His whole javelin aspect — he's always been distance for us, and I can't take credit for it, because the man has worked his butt off trying to improve his javelin over the summer. He's been attending camps, working with other kids, and just to the point where I had to buy him a better javelin because he's maxed out the one we have."

Fundak broke the record earlier this season at the Diamond Hornet Invitational at Lower Richland, and he's continued to notch wins in the meets that have followed. He's also worked with the team's other javelin throwers to help them improve their distances, and Hostetler said Fundak's attitude and work ethic will make him successful at the next level both academically and athletically.

"I know that Luke has ever swayed from doing anything, and when he's presented with a challenge he's going to be successful at it," Hostetler said. "He's not going to fall down. He's not going to fail — failing is not an option for him. He's going to pursue the greatness that he can be."

In the coming weeks Fundak will have the chance to add some more titles before moving on to college. Up next is the Region 4-AAAA championship meet, scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Aiken High, and the Class AAAA state championship is set for May 19 at Lower Richland.

"I'm super excited to show up and compete those days," Fundak said, "I've been working hard all season, same with the team. They keep me moving, motivate me, if you will. I'm just excited to see what I can do, not just with the physical but mental preparation. It's something I've been thinking about all season. When I step on the runway at region through state, I will be ready mentally to make that throw."