They’ve put away the starting blocks and jumping mats, but seven members of the Desert Vista girls track and field team haven’t called it a season just yet.
Sprinter Syndee Freeman, distance runner Yasmine Yacut, pole vaulter Heather Arseneau, high jumper Mary Kretschmar, long jumper Lindsay Jantzi, high jumper Julia Kline and thrower Kadie McNamara have earned an all expense paid trip to the Nike Track Nationals July 2 at the University of Oregon.
Desert Vista’s Courtney Darling also received an invitation, but will not be competing.
The Thunder girls team placed second behind Chandler in the state 5A-I championships this season and is currently ranked seventh out of 520 teams in the nation, which was good enough for an at-large berth in the high school division of the meet.
The weekend will include the Prefontaine Meet, which has attracted 41 former world champions and Olympians.
Chandler’s girls team, the top ranked team in the Southwest, and Phoenix Brophy’s boys team have also been invited.
Desert Vista is continuing a long tradition.
Until this season the Thunder boys team was invited to the Nationals for three consecutive years. The 2008 Thunder boys team amassed 8,430 points and is considered the best high school track and field team in the history of the sport.
The Desert Vista boys placed 23rd in the country this season, but did not qualify for the national meet this year.
Freeman will pull double duty in the sprints at the national meet. She will be running in the 100 and 400 meters.
Yacut won the state championship at 800 meters as a junior this spring and Arseneau placed second in the girls pole vault behind teammate Shaylan Simpson at the state championships.
They were part of Desert Vista’s Magnificent Seven girls pole vault team, the first high school team to have six vaulters in the top 10.
Although Jantzi qualified for the Nike as a long jumper, she also placed fourth in the state pole vault competition this spring.
McNamara will also double up in the discus and shot put, where she will replace Darling in the lineup.
Kline has improved since recovering from an injury and placed third in the 100-meter hurdles at the state meet.
Kretschmar is headed for California State-Poly this fall, while Arseneau will be attending San Diego State. Jantzi will be running at Adams State in Colorado.
Freeman, McNamara, Yacut and Kline were all Desert Vista juniors this past spring.