Two of the most accomplished track and field athletes to ever don Payson High School uniforms have earned invitations to one of the country's most prestigious meets.
Reanna Martinez and Whitney Hardt will participate Saturday (May 26) in the Great Southwest Classic. The meet, held in past years on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, has moved to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
The classic annually draws the best track and field athletes from seven Western states. Meet officials also extend invitations to select individuals from around the country.
Martinez, who will be making her second successive appearance at the Great Southwest, is slated to participate in both the long jump and triple jump.
According to Payson High School coach Chuck Hardt, she also might be asked to compete on Arizona's sprint relay team.
Whitney Hardt, the coach's niece, is slated to run on the state's 4x800 relay team and could also enter the 3,200-meter run.
Hardt will be only the second PHS freshman to ever receive an invitation to the Great Southwest. Four years ago, Lady Horn frosh Cori Winchester earned a berth in the shot-put by virtue of her school record throw of 42 feet.
Hardt travels to the Great Southwest fresh off a solid showing at the Luke Greenway Invitational held May 19 at Phoenix Central High School.
There, the Payson High freshman ran the lead-off leg of the Lady Longhorns 4x800 relay team that set a school record of 9:41.00. Michelle Closs, Brooke Bennett and Leighann Haynes joined Hardt on the team. The previous record of 941.78 was set early this season by the same foursome.
As the only girls 4x800 relay team in attendance, the Lady Horns were running on pride alone.
"All along, they've wanted to lower (their) record, and that's what they did," coach Hardt said.
In the 1,600 meters at the Luke Greenway, Hardt ran her way to a third-place finish behind season-long nemesis Jodie Denike and runner-up Kim Conover.
Denike, a senior from Chino Valley, broke a 10-year meet record by turning in a clocking of 5.57. Conover, the 5A 1,600-meter champ from Gilbert High School, was timed in 5:10. Hardt finished in 5:13.
Also competing at Luke Greenway from Payson were pole vaulter Amy Davis in pole vaulting and Jeremy Lee in the 1,600.
Davis the state runner-up in the event with a vault of 8 feet did not clear the opening height in the meet.
Lee finished seventh in the 1,600 with a personal record of 4:32.9. The time fell just short of the school standard of 4:30.5 set by Shaun Hardt.
Martinez, who recently received an athletic scholarship to Arizona State University, turned down an invitation to compete at Luke Greenway to prepare for the Great Southwest.
She'll compete in the meet as the school record holder in both the long jump (18 feet, 7 inches) and the triple jump (39 feet).
Martinez, Hardt and other members of the Lady Longhorn state championship team have the option of continuing their track and field careers at Junior Olympic meets this summer.
Coach Hardt said he was unsure of which athletes will chose to participate.
Results from 3A State Championships
2001 State Track and Field
800 Jeremy Lee, 8th, 2:05.60
1,600 Jeremy Lee, 7th, 4:37.78
300 Hurdles Chris Donaldson, 3rd, 42.28
Pelims Heat 3 Chris Donaldson, 2nd, 42.25
Shot Put Sterling White, 1st, 53-6.25
Discus Sterling White, 1st, 139-1
High Jump Blake Whetten, 2nd, 6-6; Chris Donaldson, 11th, 5-8
100 Reanna Martinez, 1st, 12.34
Prelims Heat 1 Reanna Martinez, 1st, 12.73
200 Finals Reanna Martinez, 1st, 25.67;
Prelims Heat 1 Reanna Martinez, 1st, 26.10
400 Briauna Marshall, 1st, 60.15
Prelims Heat 1 Briauna Marshall, 1st, 61.76
800 Whitney Hardt, 2nd, 2:18.58; Brooke Bennett, 4th, 2:21.55; Leigh Ann Haynes, 5th, 2:22.42; Michelle Closs, 6th, 2:25.62; Amy Davis, 10th, 2:33.10
1,600 Whitney Hardt, 2nd, 5:08.37; Leighann Haynes, 5th, 5:24.58
3,200 Whitney Hardt, 2nd, no time.
100 High Hurdles Shalynn McGee, 6th, 17.35
Prelims Heat 1 Shalynn McGee, 2nd, 17.04
100 Low Hurdles Shalynn McGee, 5th, 50.87
Prelims Heat 1 Shalynn McGee, 2nd, 49.57
400 Relay Jana Knighton, Michelle Closs, Briauna Marshall, Samantha Ellsworth, 1st, 51.24
Prelims Jana Knighton, Michelle Closs, Briauna Marshall, Samantha Ellsworth, 2nd, 52.22
1,600 Relay Michelle Closs, Amy Davis, Jenny Cohen, Briauna Marshall, 1st, 4:10.82
Prelims Heat 2 Michelle Closs, Amy Davis, Brooke Bennett, Jenny Cohen, 1st, 4:15.72
3,200 Relay Whitney Hardt, Michelle Closs, Brooke Bennett, Leighann Haynes, 1st, 9:57.66
Shot Put Kaitlin Wilkins, 5th, 33-2
Discus Kaitlin Wilkins, 6th, 110-8
Long Jump Reanna Martinez, 1st, 18-1
Triple Jump Reanna Martinez, 1st, 37-5
Pole Vault Amy Davis. 2nd, 8-0; April Cheek, 3rd, 7-6