The Longhorn track and field teams travel to the Higley Invitational tomorrow without the services of one of their finest sprinters.
Junior Luke Apfel opted to quit the team, telling coaches he wanted to pursue other interests.
That leaves coaches scrambling to find a replacement in the short sprints and on the relay team.
The responsibility for earning team points in those events could now fall on the shoulders of Brandon Echols who finished fourth in the 200 meters at the Round Valley Invitational March 18. Echols also finished 10th in the 50-meter dash.
The 4x400-meter relay team of Echols, Joe Blackburn, Kyle Pugel and Carlan Pontious has the potential to be a top-three team point producer. At Round Valley, the foursome was third behind Durango, Colo. and Chinle.
The Horns will have to call upon stalwarts Carlan Pontious, Wellington Cassuto and Bryan Schwind for points in Apfel's absence.
At the invitational, Pontious was second in both the 1,600- and 800-meter runs and Cassuto was runner-up in the discus and seventh in the shot-put.
Schwind leaped to a third-place finish in the high jump and was fifth in the triple jump.
Others the PHS coaches can call upon in Higley include Johnny Malloy (400 meters), David Cluff (distance runs), Andre Orsin (high jump), Kevin Murphy (long jump), Pete Duffy (throws) Bryce Danielson (jumps) and David Hoff (jumps).
The team will be without the services of pole vaulter Trent Hubbard who is sidelined with an injury.
As the team prepared for the Higley meet, assistant coach Dan Reid -- who led the Horns to three state championships as the head coach in the early 1990s --aid he was pleased with the team's progress.
"I told (head) coach Chuck Hardt, I really liked the way the kids were working," he said. "But they are very young and it might be a couple of years before we see much success."
Following the Higley meet, the track team will return to action April 6 at the PHS-hosted co-ed relays.
The meet is unique in prep track because it is conducted in co-ed format combining boys and girls track members in many of the events. A total score for all school members in each event is used to determine event winners. Action begins at 2 p.m.