Lady Longhorns Finish Strong At Thunderbird

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Team scores were not kept at Saturday's Thunderbird Invitational, but PHS cross country coach Chuck Hardt and his charges have reason to believe the Lady Longhorns could have emerged the meet champions.

With second, fourth and 24th place finishes, the Horns had a trio of performers in the 118-runner field that could have kept the PHS score low enough to earn the team title had it been awarded.

At Monday afternoon's pre-practice meeting, Hardt asked his athletes if they felt they'd run well enough to earn the meet title.

A resounding, "yes, sir," echoed throughout the classroom.

The Horn effort at the run which was contested over a 2.7-mile course at Cave Creek Recreational area near Phoenix was paced by freshman sensation Whitney Hardt. Finishing with an ET of 17:50, Hardt was just nine seconds off the winning time set by an older, more experienced athlete.

Teammate Leighann Haynes, who's run neck-and-neck all year with Hardt, was fourth in 17:58.

By finishing 24th in 19:47, Michelle Closs earned the Lady Horns' third individual medal of the day.

Others who competed were Amy Davis (34th; 20:11), Lily Flores (42nd; 20:43), Mary Mendoza (52nd; 21:15) and Sarah Hummer (60th; 21:36).

In the 148-runner boys field, Payson's Wes Sprinkle was 40th. Trailing were Cole Newbold (51st; 17:07), Joe Behrens (65th; 17:22), Noah Barnes (60th; 17:29) and Daniel Jacobs (69th; 17:39).

The Longhorn runners were set to return to action tomorrow (Wednesday) at Canyon State Academy.

However, at press time coach Hardt had not been able to confirm the meet and was considering taking the teams to newly-opened Pinnacle High School as an alternative. That meet would also be on Wednesday.

"It looks like it'll have to be a last-minute decision," Hardt said.

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