The Tonto Apache Track and Field team tuned up for one of the highlights of the season, the Las Vegas Invitational, at the Phoenix championships.
At the Phoenix showdown, held April 1 and 2 at Glendale Community College, the Tonto team racked up 70 points to finish eighth in the prestigious field.
"There were over 60 teams from everywhere -- New York, Washington, Hawaii and California," Tonto coach Billy Joe Winchester said. "About 2,000 athletes competed."
In the competition, the Tontos were buoyed by the first place finishes turned in by Justin Johnson, Kesha Waterman and Shane Levine. Johnson won the young men's shot put and Waterman claimed the young women's discus title.
Waterman was also second in the shot put.
Levine threw his way to the intermediate boys discus title and was third in the shot put.
Hunter Doka turned out to be the hard luck athlete of the day, finishing fourth in the bantam boys shot put.
"He was just eight inches out of second," Winchester said.
Val Doka was fourth in the youth boy's discus and sixth in the shot put.
Andrea Hinton took sixth in the bantam girls shot put.
In the competition, the Tontos were without the services of one of their best throwers, Jordon Hinton.
According to Winchester, Hinton suffered a knee injury playing basketball and will undergo surgery that will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season.
"We want him to know he will be missed," Winchester said.
With the meet at an end, the team will begin preparations for the Las Vegas Invitational to be held May 11 to 15.
"It's a big meet; we are looking forward to it," Winchester said.
In 2003, behind the efforts of Mike Waterman and Josh Quotskuyva, the Tontos won the championship of the meet, posting 2004 points.