HELENA — Helena Capital High assistant track coach and math teacher Hollee Goody knew track star Audrey Bloomquist would be a standout athlete and student since Bloomquist arrived at school.
When Goody first had Bloomquist in her class, she was instantly reminded of another star from Capital, former Bruins basketball standout and current University of Montana player McKenzie Johnston, who anchored the Bruins to a 2015 Class AA state championship.
"I'll never forget meeting her when I heard about her," Goody said. "I knew she was an accomplished gymnast, and when she walked into the first day in practice, she just reminded me of McKenzie. I introduced myself, and from there on, I knew she was going to be a special kid."
With Bloomquist's accolades, the senior might be one of the most decorated athletes to compete at Capital since Johnston.
Bloomquist ranks third on Capital’s all-time list in the 100 meters and third in the 200. She has personal records in the 100 is 12.66 seconds, and has PRs in the 200 at 26.29; 37 feet, 2¾ inches in the triple jump and 16-7¾ in the long jump.
In the 4X100 relay with Leigha Carter, Elena Carter and Melissa Moreni, she recorded a time of 48.46 seconds in the Class AA state meet.
"I compare Audrey to Kenzie because in the classroom, they are the same person and they genuinely want to learn," Goody said. "Audrey is good at what she does. She knows statistics inside and out, just as well as she knows jumping or gymnastics."
Goody, a teacher at Capital for nine years and before that a teacher at Fort Benton for 10 years, summed up Bloomquist as a performer and person.
"You know Audrey is never going to give up, and she'll run through a brick wall for her team, for me, and head coach Dick McMahon," Goody said. "Sometimes, as a coach, I have to tell her 'no.' She is beyond one of the strongest kids I've known, and for me, I have to coach her in that sense because she doesn't want anyone to beat her. I have to remind her it's all about May at the state track meet. Sometimes you have to coach her differently than most athletes, and sometimes I have to look at the bigger picture. That is what ties her to Kenzie Johnston is (that) they are such competitors, which I love."
Will to win
Goody isn't the only coach to rave about Bloomquist's athletic attributes. As a multisport athlete performing high-level gymnastics and participating in track and field events, her ability has impressed McMahon.
She's been the captain of her team going on her fourth straight year, qualified for the state meet and is a Level 9 regional qualifying gymnast.
"She was in the top 15 in about six different events," McMahon said. "She is not just good on the track, but she is a great ambassador for Capital High and has done a lot to represent Capital. It shows in her endeavors."
Bloomquist, who will head to the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs to continue her athletic career, continues to impress the Capital faculty with her outstanding achievements.
"She isn't just a great athlete, but she is a quality person, and I've never heard a bad thing said about her from competition or other, other competitors she has competed against," McMahon said. "She competes in everything. Sometimes, (as a competitor) I have to rein her back a little bit. She does everything so well, and you have to be smart with her on what we have to do. Every coach on our staff would love her to do every event, but we have to share I guess, and that is what will make her a fantastic athlete at the college level."
Born with it
Bloomquist, who began competing in gymnastics at 18 months old and practices gymnastics 16 hours per week, said she is extremely proud of her gymnastics career that is close to winding down.
Bloomquist started competing in track in sixth grade — later than some competitors — running in the 100, 200, and 4X100 relay. Once she went to high school, she added long jumping, triple jumping and throwing events to prepare for when she arrives in college.
As a gymnast, Bloomquist competes in all-around but downgraded from Level 10 to Level 9 to put more of an emphasis on her track career.
"The biggest part of managing sports is that you are using different muscle groups in each sport," Bloomquist said. "You are doing strength, conditioning and endurance. When I am doing my track training this week, it is difficult to balance, but the strength I've developed in gymnastics makes it a little easier."
Bloomquist has balanced both since her freshman year.
"Managing (both sports) for four years, sometimes there is an overlap between my track and gymnastics and this season gymnastics has continued into the track," Bloomquist said. "That is the pretty strenuous part of being a multisport athlete."
Back to the future
After this season, Bloomquist's career in gymnastics will begin to wind down.
"Gymnastics will end after this season, and I'll be focusing on track as far as the season goes," Bloomquist said.
Bloomquist, who choose to attend the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, had figurative mailbags of prospective collegiate athletic programs wanting her to join them but she chose the NCAA Division II school for more than the athletic program they offered.
"They have an excellent sports management and marketing program at UCCS," Bloomquist said. "That is a degree-specific qualified program. I have family members in the Colorado Springs area, and it just felt like a second home. I am ready for that new adventure, and Colorado is similar enough to Montana. It just all came together because it was the school and program that I wanted."
Bloomquist's primary goals are to capture the relay title at state after placing second at the event and be in the top three at triple jump.
"I think my whole team is a special group of girls," Bloomquist said. "We can achieve that goal. It will be a great event because it offers a team mentality. It would be great to win and succeed for all of my teammates."
That is what the coaches say makes Bloomquist special, her unselfish nature as a teammate. This year she hopes her relay team will be hoisting up a state championship trophy.