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Tom Mix, Published May 22 2013

Packers jumping trio soars above the rest

West Fargo - Jumping events are a big part to any track and field meet, and few take to the air better than the West Fargo senior trio of Jordan Bishoff, Jaime Heinen-Lugert and Christina Bruenjes.

Bishoff, Heinen-Lugert and Bruenjes will be taking their jumping exploits to the North Dakota Class A state meet at the Community Bowl in Bismarck one last time before wrapping up their prep careers.

Each is competing in four events – the maximum number allowed – and each enters the state meet as the top performer in at least one jumping event.

“All three have taken all their experiences they have had and now that they are seniors, they are going to put it all together,” said West Fargo boys and girls coach Darin McKinnon said. “All three are going to take every opportunity at the state meet this weekend. This is what they have been building for, and I think they are going to make the best of it and perform well.”

Heinen-Lugert holds the state’s top jumps in both the long and triple jumps this spring at 24 feet, 3 inches and 47-2 respectively. He won state titles in both events last season. Heinen-Lugert is also entered in the 100 meters and the high jump.

“I got to make sure I’m going into the meet healthy,” Heinen-Lugert said. “I have to keep the right mindset and just do the best I can in each event.”

Heinen-Lugert is coming off a record-setting East Region meet. He scored a total of 38 points for the Packers, who took home team titles in both the boys and girls competition.

His jumps in the long and triple jumps broke East Region meet and stadium records. His triple jump mark ranks second all-time on the state’s unofficial record performance list.

Besides his individual events, Heinen-Lugert hopes to break Bismarck and Bismarck Century’s reign at the top of the team race.

“Bismarck might be tough to catch, but it would be nice to finish between Bismarck and Bismarck Century,” Heinen-Lugert said. “Those two schools have gone 1-2 the last 10 years. Breaking that up and getting an East team in there would be awesome.”

Bruenjes is also defending a state title this year. Bruenjes, who is committed to North Dakota State for track and field, has won three consecutive triple jump titles and hopes to match her big sister, Brittany Bruenjes, who won four triple jump titles and one long jump title for Valley City High School.

“The big motivating factor is that it’s a family rivalry,” Bruenjes said. “She has four triple jump titles, but then she also coaches (Natalee Todd) the state’s second-ranked triple jumper from Bismarck. That adds a little fire to it too.”

Bruenjes, who also competes in the long jump, the 100 meters and the 100-meter hurdles, jumped a personal best 37-8¾ at the East Region meet.

“I’m looking for a 38-foot jump at state,” Bruenjes said. “That’s my big goal, but to be able to defend my title would be nice too.”

Bishoff, who is committed to North Dakota State for track and field, competes in the high jump, long jump, javelin and 110-meter hurdles.

Bishoff’s top finish at the state meet was a runner-up showing in the high jump last year.

This year, Bishoff has the top mark in the high jump at 6-8, two inches better than the next qualifier, who happens to be Heinen-Lugert at 6-6.

“It’s been a lot of mental preparation,” Bishoff said. “If you do what you can and do your best, you will get it. If you go into state overly nervous because you are ranked No. 1, then you won’t get it.

“I just got to take it one event at a time,” Bishoff added. “Priority No. 1 is the high jump the first day … Then on Saturday hopefully, I can score some points in the other events.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tom Mix at (701) 241-5562