The big three of Robert Walker, Brian Schwind and Issac Cluff stamped themselves as Class 3A state track and field medal contenders on March 1 when they took first place finishes at a season opening three-way meet held at Apache Junction High School.
Walker ran his way to a gold medal in the 300 meter hurdles in an elapsed time of 45.8 seconds.
Schwind won the high jump by clearing 6 feet 2 inches -- the same height he soared over last year when winning the Class 4A state championship.
By vaulting 10 feet, Cluff, though just a sophomore, captured the meet pole vault title.
In addition to Walker's victory in the hurdles, he finished fourth in the high jump.
Second place honors for the Longhorns were garnered by Carlan Pontious in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs, Bryan Burke in the shot put and Michael Daniels in the discus.
David Cluff ran his way to bronze medals in both the 1600 and 3200 meters. The presence of Cluff and Pontious in the distance events gives the Longhorns a strong one-two punch that could be among the best in the East region. When Carlos Lopez rounds into running shape, the Horns could have three of the best distance runners in the East.
The trio also has the potential to form three-fourths of a commendable relay team. In 2005, Cluff, Lopez and Pontious were part of a 4x800 relay team that earned a berth in the 4A state finals.
The threesome also brings to the team the invaluable experience of having competed in cross country last fall.
Also garnering third place medals at AJ were Brandon Echols (100 meters), Troy Brown (long jump) and Morgan Cassuto (shot put). Echols was a state meet qualifier last season in the 100 meter dash.
In addition to Brown's bronze in the long jump he was also fourth in the high jump.
As a team, the Horns posted 42 points to trail Apache Junction, 62, and Glendale Cactus, 67, in the final standings.
The Horns return to action Wednesday, March 8 at Buckeye. The field events tip off at 3:30 p.m.