Seventeen talented Lady Longhorns have compiled credentials good enough to nail down invitations to one of Arizona's most prestigious track and field events.
At Saturday's 59th Annual Chandler Rotary Invitational, the Rim country tracksters will go head-to-head against representatives of 43 other Arizona high schools.
Bolstering the field even more is the rare presence of Texas, Colorado and Nevada prep teams.
From Texas, Montwood is slated to participate. Cortez and Fairview will represent Colorado. Nevada's Green Valley will also attend.
In the field of Arizona's teams invited to the track classic, only Cactus Shadows, Valley Christian and Payson are not Class 4A or 5A "big schools."
Longhorn coach Chuck Hardt labels the meet the most competitive his team will be involved in during the course of the 2000 campaign.
By competing in a meet maximum of four events, junior Rheanna Martinez will lead the Lady Horn charge into the Chandler cinder match.
Her entries include the 100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and triple jump.
Martinez's personal best efforts in the running events are a school record 12.60 in the 100 meters and 26.30 in the 200 meters.
In the long jump, she has recorded a PR of 16 feet, 11 inches. Her triple jump of 34 feet, 3 inches is one of the best marks in the 3A conference.
Since she first stepped onto the prep track and field scene as a highly regarded freshman, Martinez has proven she has the grit to perform the Herculean task of competing in four events over the course of a single day.
Oddly, the only other Lady Longhorn able to approach Martinez's head-turning feats is an untested freshman.
Brooke Bennett is entered in three events including the high jump, long jump and the 800-meter run. The personal standards which earned her qualifying berths to Chandler include 4 feet, 8 inches in the high jump, 15 feet, 6 inches in the long jump and an ET of 2:31.7 in the 800. The marks aren't the highest, longest or quickest in the state, but coming from a rookie performer, they are quite commendable.
Lady Horns qualified in two competitions include Michelle Class (1,600 meters: 5:54 and 800 meters: 2:34.8), Samantha Ellsworth (high hurdles: 17.1 and 300 hurdles: 49.4), Kaitlyn Wilkins (shot-put: 31 feet, 10 inches and discus: 96 feet, 4 inches), Lily Flores (1,600 meters: 6:04 and 3,200 meters: 13:05) and Sara Schmidt (high hurdles: 16.70 and 300 hurdles: 49.45).
Set to participate in single competitions are April Cheek (pole vault: 8 feet), Amy Davis (pole vault: 8 feet), Josie Gressley (shot-put: 33 feet, 4 inches), Leigh Anne Haynes (800: 2:30), Sarah Hummer (discus: 98 feet, 7 inches), Katie Langeliers (400: 64.2), Brianna Marshall (400: 62.8), Sundae Schill (discus: 99 feet, 7 inches), Shaylnn McGee (300 hurdles: 51.15) and Stephanie Ray (3,200: 13:30).
Following the lofty Chandler Invitational, the Lady Horns return to much more standard prep competition at the Blue Ridge Invitational, April 4 and 5 in Lakeside.
The Payson Invitational, for freshmen and sophomores only, is April 8 on the PHS track.