As Sam Sees It

Winslow High School senior girls' basketball star Levyna Ben has signed a letter of intent to play at Northern Arizona University. Ben is a deadly three point shooter and has a quick first step that makes her a threat to drive to the basket. She has been a major reason for Coach Don Petranovich's last two Arizona State 3A Championships. In fact, Ben was the catalyst in the 2004 championship run and an important part in last year's demolishing of a good Seton Catholic team in the final game of the tournament.

Ben seems to be more than just a good basketball player. She is a personable young lady and should prove a real asset for the Northern Arizona Lady Lumberjacks in the quest for a Big Sky Conference title. She has already proven that she can handle the pressure of a big game and deliver the goods.

There is a task for Ben and her teammates to finish before she is ready to join the Lady Lumberjacks. Coach Petranovich would like nothing better than to collect a seventh Arizona State 3A Conference crown for his trophy case. If that hoped for event is to become reality, Levyna Ben will almost certainly have to play a key role in making it happen.

Winslow High School has produced a number of athletes who have continued to play at the next level in recent years. Stephanie Garnett, who was a star performer in volleyball and basketball as well as track, was seen at the state football play-offs in her Arizona State University Lady Sun Devils attire. Garnett is attending ASU on a track scholarship and is considered an Olympic hopeful.

Among the Winslow graduates performing in the valley are Brandon Guzman with the Scottsdale Community College football team, Adam Reeves with the Mesa Community College football team, Sarah Ragnoli with the Glendale Community College softball team and Juliet Sullenberger with the Scottsdale Community College softball team.

Others that come to mind who are playing at the collegiate level are John Sullivan (football) at Haskell University (Kansas), Orlando Vargas (football) at Panhandle State University (Oklahoma) and Tessa Ramsey (softball) at Southern Virginia University.

The Armenta family is proud of two Winslow High School graduates who are playing at the collegiate level. Erica Armenta is a junior at Texas A and M Corpus Christi and Lucas Armenta is a freshman at Seminole University (Oklahoma). Erica was the leading hitter for the Islanders as a freshman and a key player, despite being injured, as a sophomore. She has played second base, center field and catcher with the Islanders and shows the same willingness to play well where needed most that was her trade mark in high school.

There are a number of current Winslow High School athletes who are likely to play at the next level. Senior Jordan Payne could be sought after for his skills in either baseball or football. If he were not so likely to secure a scholarship in one of those sports, he is also a very talented basketball player. Senior Nick Anderson is a good bet to make some college's football team next season. Junior Justin Powell has the type of talent some colleges will probably not want to overlook for their football program. Senior Briana Conatser has a potent bat that is likely to find a home on some college's softball team. There are undoubtedly many more athletes in this category, but one should get the idea that Winslow is not exactly a desert when it comes to producing quality athletes.

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