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Bunce family savors life at the top

Men's soccer player and his dad gain attention for high pointing and kaying endeavors

August 9, 2012

Bunce family savors life at the top

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Poughkeepsie Journal Article

by David O’Brian
Binghamton Sports Information Office

While many of his men’s soccer teammates kept in shape this summer by playing in the PDL or NPSL, Kevin Bunce found alternative ways to stay fit. Along with his father Bob, he kayaked 150 miles down the Hudson River from Albany to New York City, which took seven days and six nights. In addition, he flew out west and high-pointed for 10 days in Nebraska, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Colorado.

Bunce and his father have high pointed (traveling to the highest point in a state) for several years now. By his count, they have been to the highest peak in 37 of the 50 states in America.

“When we recruit players to come to Binghamton, we talk to them how we are going to climb the mountain because of the view,” head coach Paul Marco said. “I really didn’t know that Kevin would take it literally.”

For Kevin and Bob, sharing outdoor adventures has cemented a relationship that was already pretty close.

“I have a great relationship with my dad,” Kevin said. “He has always been there for me in everything I do. He gets excited to come watch me play up at Binghamton when he can, especially after watching me grow as a player throughout my life. We both have the same sense of drive and ambition which helps me train to my maximum ability. It is not just my dad who helped me throughout my life, but my mom as well who was always supportive with my dad and mine adventures.”

“It’s terrific to see that one of our guys who is in college will take time out of his busy life to spend time with family members,” Marco said. “I try and make sure we hammer that point home to our guys about staying close to their families. Kevin and his father have a great relationship.”

In previous years, the Bunce duo scaled to places such as Mount Hood in Oregon and Mount Whitney in California. Planning for a 150-mile kayaking trip this summer, however, required a lot of forethought.

“After a few months of planning during the spring, we were finally on our way to kayak 150 miles down the Hudson River from Albany to the Statue of Liberty,” Bunce said. “It took about seven days and six nights and a lot of planning around tides weather. Some obstacles along the way included a 29 mile day that ended in a maze to our campsite in a marsh, where we slept on a floating dock. Also, hitting a thunderstorm at 10 at night was a bit breathtaking. It was fun kayaking from where a few of my teammates live in Albany, past where I live halfway down the Hudson and ending where Yusuf Yusuf now lives in the city.”

It took just two weeks after the kayaking adventure for Kevin and Bob to fly out west to resume their high pointing endeavors.

“Going out west has some benefits,” Bunce said. “First, the altitude we were at averaged above 8,000 feet. This is good altitude training, especially running sprints, or around the campground. After coming back from out west and living only a few hundred feet above sea level, I felt great running.”

Kevin and Bob’s adventures did not go unnoticed by the local community. The Poughkeepsie Journal ran an extensive feature article on the duo back in mid-July.

“I posted it up on Facebook and received many texts from a bunch of teammates past and present,” Bunce said. “I talked to Yusuf Yusuf about it who congratulated me and kept in touch with Tommy Klim as well about them. I don’t think many teammates, nor friends from home, knew exactly what I have been up to whenever I go out west or go on a kayaking trip.”

“Anyone who knows Kevin knows that he likes to climb anything,” Klim said. “So I wasn’t shocked when I heard he was climbing mountains. It must be doing something for him because he came back in great shape.”

“I looked on Facebook and while everyone else is doing stuff over the spring, Kevin is posting photos of him kayaking and climbing mountains,” senior Chris Hayen said.

Bunce redshirted during the 2009 season and after seeing limited time as a reserve the following year, he became a full-time starter in 2011.

“Since becoming a starter last year, I think I grew not only physically but mentally as well,” he said. “My whole college experience helped me grow tougher and more responsible on and off the field.”

To almost no one’s surprise, Bunce came back for preseason and was one of the highest performers on the fitness tests. Beyond the fitness and hard work on the field, however, he has become respected on the team in many other ways. He was inducted into the National College Honor Society last spring and has become a teammate whom others seek out for advice.

“Kevin is one of the fitter guys on the team,” Marco said. “He is one of the more intelligent guys on the team. Above that, he has good interactions with the guys. He is someone you can call and rely on. He will listen to players when they need some help off the field and he is a guy we have relied on within our leadership group for a while.”

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