GALION — Galion High School senior Braeden Horn will continue his academic and athletic pursuits at Bluffton University in the fall.
Surrounded by family and friends on Tuesday in the high school cafetorium, Horn signed a national letter of intent to compete in cross country and track and field for the Beavers. The Bluffton campus is close to home for Horn, located about 70 miles west of Galion in the village of the same name that straddles that Allen-Hancock county line.
Horn said his final choice of a university to attend came down to Bluffton and Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio.
“After visiting with both of them, I just decided that I wanted to go to Bluffton because it was a nicer campus and when I met the team for cross country, it felt like my home team from Galion,” Horn said.
Bluffton is a member of NCAA Division III and the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC). In addition to Bluffton, the conference is home to nine other institutions located in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Kaylea Jachno is the director of the cross country and track and field programs at Bluffton. She is in her second year with the university. The Beavers placed sixth at the 2021 HCAC spring men’s cross country championships held March 14 in Louisville, Kentucky. At the 2021 HCAC indoor track and field championships held in February, the Bluffton men’s squad also finished sixth.
Horn said he enjoyed competing as a member of the Galion cross country team and is proud of what he accomplished.
“Definitely one of the high points was becoming one of the top five runners,” Horn said. “I started out way in the back my freshman year because I was just getting into it and then I came out to be top five. My times improved a lot over the last few years. I think one of my other high points was leading the team. The team looked up to me.”
Horn was the top Galion runner in the 2020 Mid Ohio Athletic Conference cross country championships. He placed 17th with a time of 18:15.3 to earn honorable mention All-MOAC honors.
At the 2020 Division II Northwest District championships, Horn placed 34th, posting a time of 18:17.6.
Horn placed 17th at the 2019 MOAC championships, crossing the finish line in 18:04.4 to earn honorable mention All-MOAC honors. Also during his junior season, Horn placed 41st at the Division II Northwest District meet, finishing in 18:10.6.
In 2018, his sophomore season, Horn placed 34th at the MOAC cross country meet, completing the course in 19:15.4.
Horn noted that he likes the dual aspect of cross country and track and field, which are are both team and individual sports.
“I just enjoy running with the people who’ve been on my team,” Horn said. “It’s actually a very close-knit team sport even though people would say it’s not a team sport. You make a very special bond with people on your team. I wouldn’t even call it a team — I’d call it a family.”
In regard to his career as a student at Galion, Horn said he will miss many things.
“Definitely my teachers. My teachers bring a light into my school,” Horn said. “My teachers have brought a lot of enjoyment to me at school. And definitely my friends who are underclassmen.”
Horn said he plans to major in exercise science at Bluffton and has an eye toward a career in athletics in some respect, possibly back in his hometown.
“Maybe a coach, maybe an athletic trainer somewhere in Galion,” Horn said.
With spring sports ready to begin, Horn will be competing for the Tigers track and field team. His main event in track and field is the 3,200 meter run, he said.
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