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High Schools

ACAC track
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Bluffton
Schools: Adams Central, Bluffton, Heritage, Leo, South Adams, Southern Wells, Woodlan
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Leo junior Chris Horn practices his long jump Wednesday. Horn will participate in four events at the ACAC meet today at Bluffton.

Lion takes leap onto track team

– Being a rookie to track and field three years ago, Chris Horn’s expectations were so low when he joined the Leo team that he initially asked the coaches what it would take to simply earn a varsity letter. After being told his contributions were needed in the 400-meter run and 1,600 relay, he later asked if he could give the long jump a try.

The Leo junior has come so far since he was a freshman that his versatility has become invaluable to the defending ACAC champion Lions.

“He is just one of those kids that you love to coach,” Leo boys track coach Ryan Waybright said. “You ask him to run four events every meet, and he will do it and he will go out there and work his butt off. He is also a pretty good high jumper, but we just need him in too many events. He is one of those great kids that you don’t see very often. I’d like to have three or four of him.”

Horn’s versatility has created some conflicts, especially in the conference and postseason meets, in deciding which events will work best. For the ACAC meet, Horn’s events will be the 100, 200, long jump and either the 400 or 1,600 relay

“I don’t want to be worn out for the events I am best at,” he said. “I definitely like doing four events. It keeps me busy during the whole track meet, and I really like to compete.”

Horn grew up playing a lot of different sports but baseball in particular, his father and older brother’s favorite. As a freshman, Horn decided to give track a try and the instant results started the love affair.

“I am not honestly sure why,” Horn said of the reasons he gave track a chance. “I was told I was fast, and it sparked my interest. I did really well and won conference and multiple events. That made the decision for me that I was going to do track and be done with baseball.”

Horn won the ACAC long jump title and followed that with another conference title and a league-meet mark of 22 feet, 5 inches in his first season. He will be going for his third ACAC title in three tries today in what has become his best event. Horn is ranked No. 7 in the state this year in the long jump with a 22-10 1/2 effort in finishing fourth at the Hoosier State Relays indoor meet in March.

“With long jump, you need jumping and you have to be fast and body awareness,” Horn said. “I am pretty good at learning new sports and new techniques. It was a quick catch for me, and my athleticism really helps with that event.

“I started out just trying to learn the main technique on how I should come around and what I needed to do. You have to have speed for long jump, and the technique has a lot of different parts to it. I constantly work on my technique. You can never have your technique too good.”

A lack of decent weather, an abundance of head-winds and an inconsistency in long jump pits has kept Horn from getting over 22 feet again.

“We have had maybe one good meet weather-wise,” Horn said. “That’s a little frustrating not being able to jump out what I think I should be at, which is high 22s.”

Waybright said he expects Horn to one day get over 23 feet and possibly make a run at 24 feet, which should make college coaches come calling. It could come, especially if Horn continues to work during the winter and summer with the Fort Wayne Express club team.

“He uses the athletic ability that he has in the long jump,” Waybright said. “I can’t pinpoint any specific thing that makes him better at that than another event he excels at. He just enjoys it the most and has the most confidence in.”