Grace Bruner named the Female Athlete of the Year

Somerset High School junior Grace Bruner was named the Commonwealth Journal Female Athlete of the Year.

Since joining the Somerset High School varsity girls basketball and girls soccer teams, Grace Bruner has proved to be one of the best Lady Jumpers in the school's rich athletic history.

Bruner, a two-time All-County performer in soccer, has led the Lady Jumpers soccer program in scoring over the past two seasons. Bruner has also led the Lady Jumpers basketball team in scoring and rebounding over the past two seasons. Bruner was also a member of the Somerset High School 2021 State Championship cheer team.

But way before athletics was a major part of Grace Bruner's life, farming was what she enjoyed the most.

"Just living out on the farm is a big thing for me," Grace Bruner stated. "I love living out on a gravel road and by a creek. Growing up, my siblings and I would always go outside to play and go to the creek. If dad ever needs help on the farm, we most always all go out and help."

Before basketball and soccer, Grace Bruner began to compete in a way different arena than her now familiar Briar Patch and Clara Morrow Field. Since a young age, Grace Bruner began to show livestock as a competition.

"I have shown three different species of livestock – cows, pigs, and sheep," Bruner explained. "My parents thought it was important to gain confidence and handle fears of handling large animals. I have had to learn to work on the farm. I have also sold direct consumer meat sales."

When Grace Bruner is not working on her basketball jump shot or soccer penalty kicks, she tends to the many chores required in raising competitive show livestock. But just like her desire to compete and win on the athletic fields, Grace Bruner also likes to compete and win in her showing of livestock.

"The livestock has to be fed, watered, worked – meaning given shots, wormed and other health needs," Grace Bruner explained. "Showing livestock is like a sport. You have judges. You walk your animal keeping your eyes on the judges. You have to set your animal up in a certain position, and you have to be able to answer judges questions about them."

"You compete in showmanship, which is when the judges are judging you," Bruner added. "You also compete the animal against other animals. The animals are judged on quality and structure. We use certain bloodlines that are bred more for show."

"One of my steers won many county fair grand champions and took me to the Final Drive at State Fair," Grace Bruner vaunted. "I show at many different county fairs in Kentucky."

Growing up as a triplet – with an older and younger brother – Grace Bruner and her four other siblings have all been able to balance their athletics and work on the farm.

On the athletic field, Grace Bruner strives to win games for the Briar Jumpers. On the farm, Grace Bruner and her entire family work as a team.

"We've always lived on the farm, and I've played sports as long as I can remember," Grace Bruner stated. "Showing livestock is a family event. It takes everyone to get the animals ready."

"Showing is just another way to compete at something," Grace Bruner explained. "I love competing at everything, I guess its part of being a triplet. I also get to spend time with my dad and family, which provides a small break from athletics and school work."

STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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