Fueled by a second-day come-from-behind effort, the Lady Longhorn track and field team won its second successive Class 3A state championship.
Racking up 194 team points, the Horns were the class act of the tournament contested Friday and Saturday at Chandler High School. The Snowflake Lady Lobos -- an East Region rival --finished a distant second tallying 118 points.
Safford, the longtime prep track dynasty the Horns wrestled the state title from last spring, was third with 105 points.
Payson might not have emerged champions had it not been for their second-day heroics that produced 76 points. At the conclusion of the opening day, Snowflake led with 58. Scoring 42, Payson was second and Safford (30) third.
Despite trailing on the scoreboard early, the Horns received at least two stellar performances Friday. The 3,200-meter relay team of Brooke Bennett, Amy Davis, Michelle Closs and Leighann Haynes turned in a clocking of 10:02.46 to easily win the event over its nearest competitor which trailed by about 12 seconds.
Also Friday, Rheanna Martinez turned in a winning long jump of 18 feet, 5 inches. The leap was just one-inch shy of the school record she set at the East Region finals one week earlier.
Martinez eventually finished the competition with four individual state crowns -- triple jump, 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and long jump.
According to state track officials, she is just the fourth Arizona female track and field athlete to win four gold medals.
If Martinez can win four again next year, her senior campaign, she would be the first athlete to ever accomplish such a feat. Also, by scoring 56 team points for the Longhorns she was the state showdown's top point producer.
Other gold-medal winners for the Lady Horns were Sara Schmidt in the 100-meter hurdles (16.77) and Briauna Marshall in the 400 meters. Marshall's time of 59.74 was a PHS record.
Other results from the state meet
1st: Brooke Bennett, Amy Davis, Michelle Closs, Leighanne Haynes, 10:20.46 (new school record, old record, 10:05.48)
1st: Rheanna Martinez, 12.28 (new school record, old record 12.44)
1st: Sara Schmidt, 16.77; 4th: Samantha Ellsworth, 17.47
8th: Michelle Closs, 5:37
4th: Katie Langeliers, Sara Schmidt, Briauna Marshall, Samantha Ellsworth, 52.56
1st: Briauna Marshall, 59.74 (new school record, old record, 60.05
2nd: Jocie Gressley, 34-1; 7th: Kaitlin Wilkins 31-10-1/4
4th: Sundae Shill, 105-4; 5th: Kaitlin Wilkins, 104-9
3rd: Sara Schmidt, 48.87; 7th: Shalynn McGee, 50.01
2nd: Leighanne Haynes, 2:20.91 (new school record, old record, 2:23.75); 8th Michelle Closs, 2:30.62
1st: Rheanna Martinez, 25.29 (new school record, old record, 26.72)
2nd: Katie Langeliers, Briauna Marshall, Sara Schmidt, Leighanne Haynes, 4:06.65 (new school record, old record, 4:10.25
1st: Rheanna Martinez, 18-5
1st: Rheanna Martinez, 37-3-1/2 (new state meet record, old record, 36-5; 7th: Michelle Closs, 31-3-1/4
2nd: April Cheek, 8-6