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HDN Area Track & Field honor roll, April 17 -4/17/2014, 10:16 AM

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Humburg jumping well for Ness City -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Doubles team rolls at HHS Invitational -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

HHS soccer improves to 6-2, beats Great Bend -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Prep golf results, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

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Tiger golfers ninth in St. Charles, Mo. -4/16/2014, 9:59 AM

Track results, Redmen Relays, April 15 -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP boys win at Ellsworth -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

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TMP boys' golf third at Goodland -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

TMP baseball rolls past Ellis -4/16/2014, 9:58 AM

HHS baseball splits with Junction City -4/15/2014, 9:53 AM

TMP softball swept at Colby -4/15/2014, 10:10 AM

TMP golf begins season today -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

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Rare time off for Tiger softball -4/15/2014, 10:09 AM

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Tuesday

Prep basketball

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Atwood 76, St. Francis 65

Dighton 62, Oberlin 47

Hillsboro 50, Goodland 47

Lakeside 42, Lincoln 32

Minneapolis 68, Russell 35

Rock Hills 42, Natoma 37

Salina Central 62, Andover 58

Salina South 62, Sacred Heart 47

Sharon Springs 75, Leoti 38

St. John's Beloit-Tipton 57, Osborne 34

Sylvan-Lucas 61, Thunder Ridge 48

Girls

Dighton 44, Atwood 11

Dodge City 71, Hays High 28

Hesston 51, Goodland 18

Hoisington 60, Victoria 46

Hoxie 65, St. Francis 13

Lincoln 33, Lakeside 26

Minneapolis 47, Otis-Bison 24

Osborne 59, Wilson 34

Sharon Springs 63, Oberlin 42

Sylvan-Lucas 43, Natoma 41 (ot)

Tescott 41, Rock Hills 33

Trego 56, Leoti 27

Thunder Ridge 33, St. John's Beloit-Tipton 30

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SPOTLIGHT
Heartland Christian's Wertz up to par

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Heartland Christian's Wertz up to par

Published on -5/2/2013, 10:12 AM

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By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

LOGAN -- Sophomore Blaine Wertz ran a personal-best 11.18 seconds to win the 100-meter dash at the Logan Invitational on Tuesday. He edged Rexford-Golden Plains senior Andrew Luna and Almena-Northern Valley junior Jordan Baird, two of the area's top small school athletes.

While Luna and Baird, like virtually all of the state, have schools and teams and compete in the Kansas State High School Activities Association, Wertz has found success in a different way with Heartland Christian out of Colby.

"I am very proud of my school, so I want to get something for them," Wertz said. "They've done a good job training me."

Heartland Christian has 63 on-campus students in preschool through 12th grade. Then, several families, especially from Colby and Quinter, home school their children, but affiliate with Heartland Christian for athletics. The on-campus school has just three high school boys, but the home school families help the Crusaders have sports teams.

The Wertz family, home to six siblings, lives in Quinter. Blaine and his twin brother, Matt, and their sibling, Corey, all currently participate in sports with the Crusaders.

"We are pretty committed to home schooling," Wertz said. "... My parents, they have a good influence on me and teaching me everything that I need to know."

Sometimes, Wertz practices in Quinter. Occasionally, he will come to Colby for practice with the Crusaders, who offer football, boys' and girls' basketball, track and, depending on numbers, cheerleading. In track, Heartland Christian practices only a couple times a week.

"We try to keep it very family-friendly," Heartland Christian athletic director Deena Bandy said. "I think that's attractive to some of the families who chose to home school."

Sometimes, the team practices in the last block of school. The team tries to avoid practice Wednesday so families can devote time to church. Colby High School and Colby Community College lets the Crusaders use their facilities, although Heartland Christian can't use the facilities until around 6 p.m., after the high school and community college are finished. If Heartland Christian doesn't use Colby's facilities, it has to use a grass field for track practice.

"I get my workouts, some of them are on a real track in Quinter," Wertz said. "Grass is not fun to run on and our field is kind of bumpy, so we don't really do any hard workouts on it, because we don't want to risk our ankles."

The school is in the process of looking to purchase some track equipment. The coaches are volunteer for all sports.

"We have great coaches," Bandy said. "They want to help the kids and they want to see them do well."

Bandy, who has been involved as a parent at Heartland Christian for seven years, has seen sports grow. The football team, which plays a mixture of KSHSAA varsity and junior varsity teams, didn't have a program in 2010. Then, it went 3-4 in 2011.

Last year, Bandy said the team had just one senior and no juniors, but plenty of speed including the three Wertz brothers. Bandy said the "biggest guy was maybe 150 soaking wet," but the team went 7-0, including a 46-42 victory against Triplains-Brewster, according to kansasprepfootball.com.

"A big part of it too is convincing people that it is worth it, that sports are worth it," Bandy said.

"The kids, they thrive in it, but then it's just an avenue for us to connect with the community and our surrounding communities and then obviously the effect that sports can bring through perseverance and commitment."

The basketball team didn't win a game, though Wertz continued to impress Bandy with his work ethic. Once after basketball practice, Bandy saw Wertz running sprints by himself. Wertz wasn't in trouble; he just wanted to do extra.

"Two things, he is very naturally talented, but he works hard," Bandy said.

Since Heartland Christian is part of the Kansas Christian Athletic Association, it can't participate in KSHSAA regionals or state later this month. Their track season ends next week at the Western Kansas Liberty League meet, also at Logan. For Wertz, the goals are simply competing well for his school in the 100, 200, long jump and 400-meter relay in the final 10 days of his track season.

"I want to keep it down in the 11.1s and improve on my long jump," Wertz said. "My long jump hasn't been doing very good this year, so I want to improve on that."

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