Haley Nemra has only been running for four of her 17 years, but has already represented her fathers native country of the Marshall Islands.
While she may be seen running around the M-PHS campus and city of Marysville, the talented teens infectious smile radiates all over the area.
Nemra, voted the 2007-08 captain of the cross country team by her peers, spent part of her Christmas vacation in Apia, Samoa, where she brought home two third-place medals.
The teen placed third in the 800 and 1,500-meter races as part of the 2006 Oceania Under 18 Open Track and Field Championships.
She was disqualified from the 3,200-meter race after colliding with a competitor.
My dad is from there (the Marshall Islands) and they invited me to stay for a week and compete, so it was pretty exciting, the energetic teen said.
The affable youngster said she is undecided on her post high school plans, but definitely wants to attend a four-year college.
I would love to run track, but major-wise I am not sure what I want to do with my life yet.
Randy Edens, the M-P cross country coach, said Nemras positive attitude tends to rub off on her peers.
She is one of our natural leaders, he said She has helped to really turn our program around and has always been a positive person. Her approach and positive attitude have made us more competitive at the state level and she has a tremendous work ethic.
Nemra said the all-expenses paid trip to sweltering Samoa was fun, but also quite different than what she is accustomed to.
Our coach got us McDonalds before the first race, but I didnt have any because I knew better. I think the other Micronesian islands were coached better, but I still had a good time. I had to go represent my dads country. I am half-Micronesian.
After leaving cold temperatures here in the northwest, she found herself halfway around the world in hot and humid temperatures.
Overall, it was quite different breathing weather wise. They would wake us up with drums. It was very cultural. Its a huge deal to medal for the Marshall Islands.
Nemra credits her middle school soccer coaches for getting her into running, which she said has risen to a passion.
In middle school the coaches said I was pretty good. Once I got to high school it became more of a passion.
The talented teen can be found in the spring lapping her opponents as part of the M-PHS track and field team.
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