On the other side of the globe, Russia and Ukraine may still remain at war.

However, in West Texas, two of the best pole vaulters in Class 4A region I, one who happens to be from Ukraine and the other from Russia, will be competing in a friendly rivalry at the UIL State Track and Field Meet this week.

Monahans’ Valarie Hunt, who was born in Khabarovsk, Russia, and Canyon Randall’s Sophia Bush, born in Pryvillia, Ukraine — both finished first and second, respectively at the Class 4A Region I championships in April.

Canyon Randall’s Sophia Bush competes in the pole vault at a meet earlier this year. Bush and Valarie Hunt will be competing at the state track and field championships this week in Austin. Courtesy Photo

Now the two competitors will be vying for a championship on Thursday in Austin.

Both came to the United States when they were adopted by their families.

Hunt was adopted at 21 months while Bush was adopted when she was 4 years-old.

It wasn’t until recently that Hunt and Bush both learned of each other’s backstory and the two have since become friends.

“I love Sophia,” said Hunt who is a junior that will be making her third consecutive appearance at state but first in the pole vault. “She’s a great person and a good friend. She’s fun to be around. We’re both very competitive. She’s an awesome person.”

Hunt also qualified for state in the shot put and discus, finishing first in all of her events.

At regionals, which took place April 19-20 at Lubbock, Hunt finished with a mark of 11-feet, six-inches while Bush was second at 11-00.00.

“I was kind of shocked when I found out that I qualified for state, but I knew that if I came in there and did my job, I could do it,” Hunt said. “I just believed in myself.”

For Bush, who is also a junior, this will be her first time competing at state. She will only be competing in pole vault.

“I was shocked when I learned about qualifying for state,” Bush said in a phone interview. “I was kind of stressed out. I was shaking because it’s my first time qualifying. I was stunned.”

The two athletes are looking forward to competing against each other again this week.

“We’re both excited,” Hunt said. “We both talked about hoping to go to state and finish our seasons and do our jobs. It’ll be fun to see her again.”

Bush echoed those thoughts.

“I’m very excited,” Bush said. “I was excited to see her in regionals and it’ll be fun to compete with her again.”

It wasn’t until just recently when both of their families learned of each athlete’s origin.

That story involves a random encounter involving friends of the Bush family at a track meet earlier this season.

“It’s a funny story because some neighbors of ours (who have since moved off) showed up to the pole vault at area to watch a different pole vaulter last year,” Sophia’s mother Sara Bush said. “It just so happens, that the vaulter they came to see, she, Sophia and Valarie were on the podium and they happened to mention to another parent that they remember when Sophia got here and couldn’t speak English. Valerie’s parents overheard that and thought ‘that’s funny because that’s Valarie story, too.’”

The following week at regionals, both families came together.

“They came up to us and said they heard about it and we found out the two vaulters have so much in common,” Sara Bush said. “It’s hard for people who haven’t done this to understand what it’s like for the kids, the families and everybody. It was really nice to see another family with a similar story … Both Valarie and Sophia hit it off. Valarie is very friendly and positive. I’m glad that she’s going to be there at state and be on the runway with Sophia.”

Monahans junior Valarie Hunt poses for a photo during practice Monday outside Estes Memorial stadium. Hunt will be competing in the pole vault, shot put and discus this week at the Class 4A state track and field meet in Austin. Michael Bauer|Odessa American

Both athletes were surprised when they found out.

“I was kind of shocked,” Hunt said. “My parents were like ‘you need to meet this girl’ and you don’t normally meet someone who’s in the same area that you were in the world when I was born. We just started talking and became good friends.”

“When I first met her, I did not know her story until my mom told me and was shocked,” Sophia said. “It’s interesting when you have a friend who has a similar story that you do.”

The two athletes had already known each other from different track and field meets, but have become close friends since they learned about their stories.

“We definitely hit it off,” Hunt said. “We encourage each other at competitions.”

As for the conflict on the other side of the world, the subject doesn’t come up much between Hunt and Bush.

“It doesn’t come up, but I’ll just say that it’s extremely sad,” Hunt said of the war in Europe. “It’s hard and I’m glad that we’re both Americans now.”

For Hunt and Sophia, it’s been a friendly competition at a time when things around the globe seem uneasy.

“I think that one thing that struck me was that both girls immediately hit it off,” Sara said. “I think these days, it doesn’t seem to happen that often, especially in sports. … Both of these competitors have been clapping for each other.”

They’ll get another chance to do that when the Class 4A pole vault competition begins at 3 p.m. Thursday.