Horizon Christian School’s track and field team is up and running in its second year competing in the sport. The squad traveled to the Condon/Wheeler Invitational Saturday for the first meet of the season, where the boys team finished ninth out of 14 and the girls finished 10th out of 12 teams.
Leading the charge for the boys was Grant Union High School of John Day and Ione High School for the girls. Condon/Wheeler, the host team, placed second in the men’s and third in the women’s categories.
Highlights for the Hawks include the boys 4x100-meter relay team of freshman Tristen Rosander, sophomore Mason Bloomster and juniors Patrick Foss and Luke Kempf with a fourth-place finish in a time of 51.15 seconds.
Bloomster, who competed in three individual events as well as the relay, won the long jump with a distance of 18’8.5”, finished second in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with times of 11.75 and 19.95 seconds, respectively.
To prepare for the season, Horizon trains at its own school grounds (where there are no proper track and field facilities) as well as at Hood River Valley High School. And, as is the case with all HCS sports teams, in addition to physical training, a stress is made on values, sportsmanship and mental preparedness.
“We had a team meeting on Friday before the meet and talked about sportsmanship and team etiquette at meets, how a meet is run time wise, and other expectations and goals,” commented coach Emma Neiworth-Petshow. “I believe that is it just as important to make sure that athletes are mentally prepared for the competitive environment as well as physically prepared.”
For the Lady Hawks, freshman Marlie Bloomster, Mason’s sister, finished in a time of 1:08.43 in the 400-meter run and 56.24 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles, good for fourth place in both events. She also competed in the shot put, where she achieved fifth place with a 26’10” throw. Despite three attempts, Bloomster was unable to clear 6’0” in the pole vault.
Fellow freshman Victoria Rasmussen placed 10th in the javelin with a 68’4” throw and also placed 14th in the shot put with a 21’1” throw. Sophomore Hannah Kempf placed third in the 400-meter run, just above her teammate, Bloomster, with a time of 1:08.43. Kempf leaped her way to fourth place in the triple jump with a distance of 30’0.5” and crossed the line in 57.66 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles, good for fifth place behind Bloomster. Like Bloomster, Kempf also attempted the pole vault, but was unable to clear 6’0” despite three strong attempts.
Competing in her first track and field meet, junior Kaylee Demchuk achieved a time of 17.32 seconds in the 100-meter dash, placing her 17th among 18 competitors. She also earned a distance of 21’ in the shot put and 9’2” in the long jump, obtaining 15th place in each event.
“I am absolutely impressed with the student-athletes’ performances,” Neiworth-Petshow said. “I knew they were going to perform well, because they are a good group of athletes and all very competitive, but they exceeded my expectations.”
On the trip home, the Hawks showed each other appreciation by cheering each other on.
“Some of the athletes won ribbons, so we had a mini ribbon ceremony on the bus before we left Condon and all of the team was clapping and cheering for one another,” Neiworth-Petshow said. “That is what makes me happiest as a coach, is to see the team supporting each other.”
The Hawks also participated in the Arlington Twilight in Arlington on Tuesday, April 9. Results were not available at press time. The team’s next meet is at the Al McKee Invite April 13 in Stevenson, Wash.