July 31, 2017

Four years can fly right by. Just ask senior back Hunter Robertson. No active Buckeye has played and started in more matches than the native of Westerville, Ohio. He’s started in 64 career games and was a part of the 2015 Big Ten championship team and 2014 and 2015 NCAA Tournament teams. Now entering his final campaign in the Scarlet and Gray, we sat down with Robertson a week out from the start of preseason camp. Click above for a photo gallery of Robertson.

Q: How has your summer been?

A: The offseason has been an interesting one. This is the first summer since I’ve been at Ohio State that I haven’t played for a team. I’ve tried to get touches when I can, but I have been doing a lot more running and conditioning since I’m not playing every day. I’ve unfortunately been golfing much less, which is the saddest part about this summer. I am taking two summer classes, so it hasn’t completely felt like a normal summer. My major is economics but I’m not actually taking any economics courses, so it’s a lot different than my usual fall/spring semesters. I’m taking two upper division communication courses and the change of subject is interesting. It’s nice to get away from economics for a bit.

Q: What makes Ohio State so special?

A: Ohio State has always held a special place in my heart. Kind of sappy, but I grew up in Westerville, Ohio, which is only about 20 minutes away from campus, and have been cheering on the Buckeyes since day one. I remember going in the backyard when I was younger wearing an OSU football jersey and throwing the football up to myself and scoring touchdowns for hours. It’s always been a dream of mine to attend Ohio State and I’m lucky enough to be a student-athlete as well. I don’t think I could be happier at any other school in the country. I have my family here, who for the majority are huge Buckeye fans and I know they are all extremely proud of me. This is home, always has been, always will be.

Q: What’s it like now finally being a senior? How have you seen yourself mature over the past four years?

A: It’s crazy to think this is my senior year. I remember my freshman year like it was yesterday. All the seniors would tell me to cherish these times because they go by quickly and they weren’t lying. I definitely think I’ve matured, maybe not as much as most but there has definitely been a transformation since freshman year. I’ve improved my grades since freshman year, and grasped a better grip on the reality of things. Ohio State has helped me grow up tremendously.

Q:  You’ve played in more matches than any other active Buckeye. How can that experience help you lead this team this fall?

A: Coming in my freshman year, I wasn’t expecting at all to start right away, I honestly didn’t expect to get much playing time at all. I’ve played and started in every game since my freshman year, and it’s been an incredible learning process. I’ve been a part of three amazing teams and I’ve played with a lot of amazing players and friends. I’ve been a part of two great seasons, one of them ending with a Big Ten championship and a great run to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament. I’ve also been a part of a not so great year, which I think I’ve learned the most from. I just hope my experiences, the good and the bad, will help me show all the younger guys how to handle themselves on and off the field. I know what it takes to win titles and now it’s just a matter of getting everybody to buy into that. That’s the seniors’ job. Zach Mason is the best example of that, he’d been through the worst of it and knew what needed to be done to become a champion and his senior year he did that. I want to emulate that kind of leadership, but with my own twist.

Q: Individually, what have you worked on with your game in the past offseason?

A: Like I said before, I didn’t play for a team this summer which was a bummer. Last summer I was also battling an ankle injury and maybe playing soccer everyday didn’t help with that. I’ve been through three summers leading into the fall preseason, and every summer I wanted to get better at soccer, but this summer I’ve tried to focus on the fitness aspect. We have a lot of new guys coming in and it’s going to take a while for everybody to get used to playing with one another, so I think the best thing I can do for my game is being in the best shape possible. This is the first offseason that I’ve attended every speed school session, which is a voluntary morning conditioning session run by the strength and conditioning coaches that a lot of both female and male student-athletes do from multiple sports. I think after a few training sessions I will get my touch going again, but being in great shape right away will give me an advantage I haven’t had in the past three preseasons. A lot of guys have been coming to speed school, I think we are going to be a very fit team in the fall, I’m very excited to get started.

Q: Hairstyle is important. What should fans expect this fall from Hunter?

A: Love this question. I actually haven’t cut my hair in a long time, it’s getting pretty long again. I was honored to win Best Game Day Hair at the Scarlet and Graymies, so I definitely should try to defend my title. I’m not completely sure what I’m going to do with my hair this fall to be honest. As long as I can try to hide my huge forehead I’ll be happy. I’ve been in talks with other upper classmen like Jake Duska and Brady Blackwell talking about maybe doing something as a team. I don’t want to draw any unnecessary attention to myself, the focus this fall is getting back to Buckeye soccer that won us a Big Ten championship.

Q: What should we expect during preseason camp with 18 newcomers?

A: This will be an extremely interesting preseason. Last preseason, we didn’t have even half the newcomers we do this year and only had three freshman. This year we have 18 new guys and 15 of them are freshman. That’s more new guys than returning guys. I haven’t been a part of anything like this before, but the guys returning are a tight-knit group and we know the direction we want to go. The new guys will be excited and eager to help us out and their high energy and enthusiasm is all we can ask for. It’s going to take a little time to get used to playing together and it will be a struggle at times. If we can achieve comradery early on, then once we start playing actual games we will have more success. It’ll be important to get off to a good start this year.

Q: You haven’t scored a goal in your career, but you’ve come close several times. Should we expect one this year?

A: I have no idea what position I’ll be playing this year and the amount of chances I’ll have in front of goal, but it’s my last season so I have to score. It’s not going to be the end of the world if I don’t, and I don’t want to force anything and become selfish. If I don’t score a point, but win a championship and make the NCAA tournament then I’ll be more than happy. It would be an incredible feeling to score a goal though, so if I end up getting one in the back of the net be ready for one heck of a celebration.

Q: What matches are you most looking forward to this fall?

A: This is my last year playing for OSU so I’m looking forward to every match, especially the home matches. Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium has become one of my favorite places in the world these past three years and I can’t wait to play there again. If I had to narrow it down to a few games, I’m really looking forward to play Maryland and that team up north again.

Q: What will it take to get the team back to a postseason run?

A: If this team wants to get back to the NCAA tournament and become Big Ten champs, it’s going to take a group effort. The new guys are going to have to buy into what we want to do as a team. That 2015 team had guys who wouldn’t take losing as an option, guys like Zach Mason and Kyle Culbertson have taught me more about heart and passion than anybody else I’ve played with. Having the drive to make that extra run back to stop a counterattack, or make that 50-yard run into the box when you’re already dead tired just to try to get a goal is what we need. It’s not going to be easy by any means, but if everybody gets the idea of putting the team before themselves, we will be very successful. It’s also going to take some luck. Last year, things didn’t go our way but in 2015 they did. What goes around comes around so maybe this is our year. It’s also going to take some moments of greatness from individuals. We have players like Abdi Mohamed, Nate Kohl and Marcus McCrary who are very capable of scoring goals. We also have great players returning in the back like Niall Logue and Parker Siegfried who I know will make some game-saving stops. Players like Brady Blackwell and Jake Duska had great spring seasons and have a chance to be difference makers this fall and help add onto the team success. Then with the 18 new guys, I haven’t played with them yet, but we will need them step up and push us over the hump and take us from a good team to a great team. If all the pieces we have come together and we stay healthy, we can get back to the success we had in 2015.