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Horizon track chases state

Horizon Christian School doesn’t have the numbers to challenge for the boys or girls Big Sky Conference district track and field team titles, but the Hawks do have some individual athletes bidding for state meet berths.

Saturday’s district competition begins at 11 a.m. with field events at Sherman County High School in Moro. Running events begin at 1 p.m.

Horizon’s second-year team is short on numbers, but long on talent. Five athletes are among the top three in their events heading into district. Included in that group is returning state meet sprinter Hannah Kempf, who raced in the Class 1A championships a year ago at Western Oregon University. This year’s state meet is May 23-24 at historic Hayward Field in Eugene. The top two district meet finishers and those who meet qualifying standards advance to the state finals.

“Even though my goal is to keep everything light and fun this week, there are several athletes who have a good chance at making it to the state championships,” Horizon head coach Emma Neiworth-Petshow said.

Kempf is ranked first in the triple jump (32-feet, 3-inch best), and third in the 200 meters, 400 and 100 hurdles. Kempf ran the 200 at state a year ago.

“If she competes at the same level of intensity this weekend, (other Big Sky) athletes will have a hard time catching up with her,” Neiworth-Petshow said.

Teammate Marlie Bloomster, a freshman, is ranked second in the high jump and third in the 300 hurdles.

On the boys side, Mason Bloomster (Marlie’s sophomore brother) is ranked third in the triple jump and fourth in the long jump. Freshman Salvador Ramirez is ranked third in the 800 and 1,500, but likely will forego the shorter race at district in favor of the 3,000. Ramirez hasn’t competed in the 3,000 this season, but the 3,200 he ran in a meet at Glenwood, Wash., converts to the second best time in district thus far. Junior Patrick Foss is the third-ranked pole vaulter, clearing a personal best 11-6 last week at Arlington.

The Arlington meet served as a district tune-up for Horizon, and Neiworth-Petshow said the Hawks took advantage with numerous personal bests. Among Horizon’s eight athletes who competed in the meet, six had PRs and three of those had two apiece.

“We had an exciting meet at Arlington,” she said. “Our athletes competed at a very high level even in the heat.”

Foss improved his pole vault best by 18 inches. The first-year vaulter has increased his personal record in every meet this season except one.

Horizon had two champions at Arlington: Marlie Bloomster cleared 4-10 in the high jump and had one good attempt at 5-0; and Kempf won the triple jump, moving to the No. 3 ranking in the state.

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