Soroco seniors sign to compete in collegiate basketball, track |

Soroco seniors sign to compete in collegiate basketball, track

The Soroco relay team of Kayedence Bruner, Marissa Martindale, Lexi Vandenberg and Larhae Whaley were busy in three events at the 2021 CHSAA Track and Field State Championships at JeffCo Stadium.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Soroco High School celebrated with cake on Monday, April 18, as seniors Kayedence Bruner and Marissa Martindale signed to continue competing in track and field in college. Bruner will run and play basketball for Arizona Christian University, while Marissa Martindale will compete for the University of Montana Western track team.

“(Kayedence) and Marissa are pretty special kids,” said Rams track coach David Bruner. “Right now Marissa is in the top 18 in five events and Kayedence is in the top 18 in seven events. … That shows what kind of kids they are. Not just athletes, but great kids.”

Montana Western is everything Soroco High School senior Marissa Martindale could want in a school. It’s in a smaller, mountainous town, much like Oak Creek, has an excellent equine program and a track team that offered her a spot on the roster.

“(Track) was something I was hoping I could do, but it’s definitely a bonus to be a part of a team,” she said.

The state-placing long jumper suspects she will also compete in a few running events in a Bulldogs uniform. Until then, she doesn’t see herself making any changes to her season.

“I’m trying to treat it as a normal season and just do the best that we always do,” Martindale said.

While having an NAIA track program that allows her to have teammates and compete was a big plus at Montana Western, what really won Martindale over was the equine program.

“I came from a ranching family and that’s something I’ve always been interested in,” she said. “I’m hoping to open my own business and teach kids how to ride.”

Just as he did for Martindale and any of his other athletes, David advocated for his daughter Kaydence. He looked at the schools she was interested in and reached out to track coaches to start the conversation and see if Kayedence could compete.

Arizona Christian wanted her not only for track and field, but also basketball, which was a major factor in Kayedence choosing the NAIA school.

“I really was debating between the warm weather and the track team, the chemistry and also getting to play basketball,” she said. “I think the underlying factor that really made me choose was that my sister is there.”

Kayedence’s older sister Kourtney, a 2020 graduate of Soroco High School, also runs for the Firestorm.

Kayedence runs sprints, middle distance, hurdles and does long jump, high jump and occasionally other events. Because she’s above average, if not great, at every event she competes in, she said Arizona Christian mentioned making her a heptathlete.

While competing in two college sports, Kayedence will also be studying biology on a pre-med track with the goal of being an anesthesiologist. The program has a direct route to medical school for biology students, which streamlines the process.

She’s used to being busy though, competing in cross country and volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and track and field in the spring on top of an academic workload.

“I like the challenge and I like constantly doing things,” Kayedence said. “That’s probably why I’d like being a heptathlete. I get bored doing one thing.”

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