Blinding speed will be the Lady Longhorns’ forte when the Division III state track and field championships sprint off the starting blocks on Friday, May 10 at Mesa College.
The meet will wrap up Saturday.
Speed is not something the Lady Horns have always been blessed with, but this year, senior sprinter Morgan Chilson is leading the chase for the state gold in the 100 meters.
Currently, Chilson is Division III’s top-ranked sprinter, having recorded a personal and state best 12.57 earlier this season.
Chilson has been a sprint star since she was a freshman, but sometimes was hampered by slow starts. At the onset of this season, Chilson said she had worked hard to improve her starts and the diligence appears to be paying off.
Breanne Myers of Tucson Santa Rita has run 12.64 and most likely will be Chilson’s top competition for a gold medal.
Also in the 100, Lady Longhorn Michelle Schatz has run 12.96 and is state eighth-ranked.
Both Chilson and Schatz could also enter the 200 meters.
It’s entirely probable that when the state 100-meter finals are run — after several preliminary heats — PHS will have two qualifiers for the first time since 1980 when Marie Ralston and Sandy Western starred for PHS.
In addition to Chilson and Schatz excelling in the sprints, the two run legs on the 4x100 relay 4x400 relay teams.
The 4x100 team, which also includes Danya Svir and Rachel Knauer, has run 50.90 and is state ranked.
The 4x400 relay team, which features the same four runners, is state sixth-ranked with a time of 4.19.71.
For the 4x100 sprint relay team to contend for state gold, the group most likely will have to run closer to 50 seconds flat.
The 4x400 foursome needs to cut about 10 seconds off its time to have a shot at a state medal.
The Lady Horns also have in their arsenal a very good 4x800 relay team that has been clocked in 10:27.24 and is state sixth-ranked.
Abby Greenleaf, Mckyla McCrary, Savannah Grassel and Erin Huffman are on the team.
In the high jump, Svir has cleared 5 feet, 2 inches and is tied for fifth in the state.
Having cleared that height, she’s not far away from the top-ranked high jumper — Safford’s Jordan Abalos who has soared 5 feet, 4 inches.