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

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

“(Kayedence) and Marissa are pretty special kids,” Rams track and field coach David Bruner said. “Right now, Marissa is in the top 18 in five events and Kayedence is in the top 18 in seven events. … It 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 small mountain town, much like Oak Creek, that she has a great equestrian program and track team that has earned her a spot on the roster.

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

The state-ranked 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 this like a normal season and do the best we can,” Martindale said.

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

“I come from a family of ranchers and it’s something that has always interested me,” she says. “I hope to open my own business and teach children to ride bikes.”

Just like he did for Martindale and any of his other athletes, David stood up for his daughter Kaydence. He looked at the schools he was interested in and contacted the coaches to start the conversation and see if Kayedence could compete.

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

“I was really debating between the hot weather and the track team, the chemistry and also playing basketball,” she said. “I think the underlying factor that really made me choose is 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 is above average, if not excellent, at every event she competes in, she said Arizona Christian mentioned making her a heptathlete.

While competing in two college sports, Kayedence will also study biology on a pre-med track with the goal of becoming an anesthesiologist. The program has a direct path to medical school for biology students, which simplifies the process.

However, she is used to being busy, competing in cross country and volleyball in the fall, basketball in the winter and track and field in the spring in addition to a load of academic work.

“I like the challenge and I like to constantly do things,” Kayedence said. “That’s probably why I would like to be a heptathlete. I’m bored doing one thing.

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