Hand Injury Hampers Track Star's Showing At Blue Ridge

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As one of the most accomplished prep track and field stars in Arizona, Rheanna Martinez is accustomed to pocketing as many as four gold medals in any meet she enters..


But at the Blue Ridge Yellow Jacket Invitational held Saturday in Lakeside, the Horn star was astonishingly limited to but one gold.


Her downfall wasn't due to the stellar competition, but rather it occurred after a freak injury sent her scampering to the hospital in Show Low.


On the second of her long jump attempts, after fouling on the first, Martinez said she inadvertently spiked her right hand trying to keep from falling.


Cut severely near the thumb, the injury required seven stitches to close. Following her treatment, physicians cleared Martinez to return to the meet being contested only a few miles away.


The teenager returned to the high school stadium just in time to anchor the Lady Longhorn 4x100 relay team to a first-place finish in 51.97.


The clocking was good enough to earn the foursome an outside qualifying spot into the state tournament May 12-13.


Coach Chuck Hardt said he was taken aback by Martinez's ability to compete in the relay because the injury was on the hand with which she would receive the baton.


"I didn't know if she could hold on (to the baton), but she did," Hardt said.


Due to the injury, Martinez was not able to compete in her usual dash and triple jump specialties.


Because she had not yet had a legal attempt in the long jump, she was denied a medal there as well.


Early in the week, Martinez was back in the Longhorn fold practicing with the team. She was, however, required to wear a glove to protect the stitches from further injury.


On the team with Martinez in the 4x100 were Katie Langeliers, Brianna Marshall and Samantha Ellsworth.


Earning a state relay berth wasn't limited to the girls' team. The boys squad of Andrew Easton, James Lyons, Sterling White and David Shaw qualified for a state seed by posting a speedy ET of 44.59.


Among that group, Easton and Shaw are seasoned, veteran sprinters fans would expect in the event. But the real surprise in the foursome is the presence of Lyons and White. Only a freshman, Lyons has no varsity track experience, especially in relay events that require split-second timing and team work.


Better known for his feats in the shot-put and discus, White was added to the relay team only two weeks ago.


It's not often a thrower -- usually known for strength and bulk --is asked to leave the ring for a sprint relay.


He said that prior to the BR Invitational he hadn't run a relay since he was in middle school but is now enjoying the unique experience.


Also earning an outside berth into the state tournament along with the relay teams was 400-meter speedster Brianna Marshall and the one-two discus punch of Kaitlin Wilkins and Sundae Shill.


With a clocking of 1:02.07, Marshall stamped herself a legitimate state championship contender.


Wilkins' discus mark of 113 feet, 8 inches won the Blue Ridge competition. Shill was second with a mark of 113 feet, 1 inch.


The efforts of the state qualifiers helped the Lady Longhorns to a first-place finish with 185 points. With 127, Snowflake was second.


Compiling 74 points, the Payson boys were fourth.


Other results from Blue Ridge

4x800

1st, Brooke Bennett, Michelle Closs, Amy Davis, Leighanne Haynes, 10:35.69;


11/110 Hurdles

4th, Meikle Garrett, 16.71;

Samantha Ellsworth, 17.5; Shalynn McGee, 18.45;


100

1st, David Shaw, 11.42

1600

1st, Jeremy Lee, 4:54;

1st, Leighann Haynes, 5:56; 3rd, Michelle Closs, 6:02; 6th, Shaina Vaught, 6:10; 7th, Lily Flores, 6:20;


400

6th, Danny Malloy, 56.98;

6th, Katie Langeliers, 1:05.82

300 Hurdles

2nd Andrew Easton, 42.46; 4th, Meikle Garrett, 43.79;


1st, Samantha Ellsworth, 51.29; 4th, Shalynn McGee, 52.46;


800

1st, Leighanne Haynes, 2:36; 3rd, Amy Davis, 2:39; 5th, Michelle Closs; 2:46, 6th, Shaina Vaught, 2:48;


200

4th, James Lyons, 23.8;

3rd, Brianna Marshall, 27.7

3200

8th, Martin Garcia, 11:59;

4th, Lily Florez, 13.27; 6th, Stephanie Ray, 14:05; 7th Mary Mendoza, 14:11;


4x400

2nd Katie Langeliers, Samantha Ellsworth, Shalynn McGee, Brianna Marshall, 4:29


Long jump

8th, Andrew Easton, 19-11

Triple jump

4th, Michelle Closs, 31-9

Shot-put

1st, Sterling White, 45-10; 6th, Brandon Johns, 40-8-1/2;


1st Kaitlin Wilkins, 34-5, 2nd Jocie Gressley, 32-1, 4th Sundae Shill, 30-4


Pole vault

4th, Amy Davis, 8-0; 5th, April Cheek, 8-0;


Discus

7th, Everett Lenhart, 101-7; 8th, Brandon Johns, 99-6;


7th, Sarah Hummer, 99; 8th, Carrie Garrett, 96-4

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