Relay Team Paces Lady Horns' Triumph

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The two-time defending state champion Lady Longhorn 4x800 relay team of Leighanne Haynes, Autumn Herrera, Whitney Hardt and Michelle Closs continue to dominate the 3A prep track and field scene.

Turning in a 10:04.9 clocking, the team's most recent win was chalked up at the eight-team Tiger Invitational contested April 3 at Globe High School.

That victory paced the Lady Horns to 239 points and the meet championship. Trailing in the standings were Globe (142), Maricopa (114) and Higley (54),

A solid favorite to win the state event championship, the Lady Horn 4x800 relay has lost only twice this season both times to Class 5A Phoenix Xavier.

Although they are a speedy crew, the team is not the only foursome in the Lady Horn arsenal with the talent to run to a gold medal.

The 4x100 squad of Megan Branstetter, Haylee Huff, Amy Davis and Michelle Closs also posted a win at Globe, finishing in 52.97.

In the 4x400 relay, Huff, Branstetter and Closs hooked up with Jenny Cohen for another gold medal (4:22).

Buoyed by the three highly accomplished relay teams, the Lady Longhorns are positioning themselves for a run at a fourth consecutive state championship.

The state finals will be held May 10 and 11 at Mesa Mountain View.

But before they can begin focusing on an Arizona crown, they must take care of business tomorrow (Wednesday) in a return trip to Globe. The meet will feature teams from Higley, San Carlos Globe and Payson.

Coach Chuck Hardt said he might hold some of the athletes out of the Globe meet so they can prepare for the 11-team Blue Ridge Invitational April 12 in Lakeside.

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