Lady Longhorn Finishes Fifth In Tough Heptathlon

Jenna Robertson shows why she is top athlete

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The heptathlon -- a test of strength, speed, skill and endurance -- is a daunting challenge only a select handful of the state's most well-rounded and dedicated prep and field athletes are willing to take on.

Among those who has chosen to test herself in the demanding seven heptathlon events is Payson High School junior Jenna Robertson.

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Payson High School athlete Jenna Robertson turned in a solid performance during the Arizona State Heptathlon held at Copper Canyon High School.

Her attempt took place May 16 and 17 at the Arizona State Heptathlon held at Copper Canyon High School.

There, Robertson proved what Rim Country sports fans already knew -- she is one of the state's finest, all-around athletes.

Rock-solid evidence she is among Arizona's best surfaced in her fifth-place finish among the 25 entrants representing all high school size classifications, 1A-5A.

Over the course of the two days, Robertson posted 3,571 points which might have resulted in an even better finish had not Mesa Westwood's Samantha Collins set a new state heptathlon record of 4,704 points.

Collins' total was 654 points greater than that of runner-up Taylor Stapley of Flagstaff Sinagua.

At the end of the first day, Robertson had 2,116 points and was in sixth place overall.

Her second-day javelin throw of 97 feet, 7 inches produced 472 points which was enough to propel the Payson star past Goodyear Millennium senior Hannah Jackson in the final standings.

Robertson's javelin throw was also the second best among the field of competitors. Only Collins threw farther (100 feet, 8 inches).

In the shot put, which was contested on opening day, Robertson led all competitors with a toss of 34 feet, 3 inches.

Also on the first day, Robertson was clocked in 18.33 in the 100-meter hurdles, high jumped 4 feet, 6 inches and ran the 200 meters in 28.11.

On the second day, she ran the 800 meters in 2:42.50, long jumped more than 14 feet and threw the javelin.

The javelin event is unique among prep competitors because the event is considered too dangerous to be held in traditional high school track and field meets.

Which means, few athletes have many opportunities to practice or compete in the javelin.

While Robertson excelled in the event with a 97-foot-plus throw, some others were totally frustrated and unable to reach even 50 feet.

The difficulty of the Arizona State Heptathlon turned evident in the final standings when two athletes withdrew on opening day, another two scratched on the second day and some point totals were less than 2,500.

The heptathlon has been contested by female athletes since the early 1980s, when it replaced the pentathlon as the primary women's combined event contest. In creating the heptathlon, the javelin throw and 800 meters were added to the pentathlon events. It was first contested at the Olympic level at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

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