While their Lady Horn counterparts were frolicking to a 100-point-plus triumph, the Payson High School boys' track team labored feverishly through a nip-and-tuck, four-way home opener contested Wednesday on a wind-blown Payson High track.
The Horns notched 106 points and were able to salvage the team victory over Globe (91), Camp Verde (56) and Mogollon (42) with strong efforts from Jeremy Hoff, David Shaw, Heath Boyle, Josh Barnhardt and Mike Barker.
One of the most remarkable showings at the meet was turned in by Hoff, who won the shot put event with a throw of 49 feet, 3 1/4 inches.
Normally, shot put honors are reserved for bulky, hulking athletes who spent the past football campaign manning one of the offensive line positions.
But Hoff, of slender build, is the exception to the rule. As a shifty defensive back and sometimes wide-receiver, he helped the Horn football team to an undefeated season and the state championship.
Football teammates Cable Morris and Hunter Walden were amazed as they watch Hoff launch the shot put consistently past the 45-foot mark.
"Can you believe a D-back is doing that?" Morris asked.
In addition to his gold in the shot, Hoff picked up a fourth in the discus with a mark of 117 feet, 3 inches. Teammate Mike Barker won the competition, unleashing a throw of 142 feet, 9 inches.
Winning in the throws events is nothing unusual for the Longhorns. Coach Pete Greer has traditionally fielded a good group of athletes in both the shot-put and discus.
But this season the Horns also have a steady group of runners, led by Shaw, Barnhardt and Boyle, to supplement Greer's group. Shaw won the 100 meters (11.67) and Barnhardt (23.01) sped his way to the 200 crown.
Boyle, the track club president, won the 800 meters (2:09.92), but his clocking wasn't close to the 2:01.23 he turned in at the Glendale Invitational last week.
Shaw, Boyle and Barnhardt later joined forces with Andrew Easton to win the 4x100 meter relay (45.81). In the 4x400, Shaw and Boyle hooked up with Mike Sprinkle and Andy Pederson for another relay triumph.
The Horns return to action Friday at the Bulldog Invitational in Winslow.
Other meet results from Wednesday:
- 100 M: David Shaw, 1st, 11-67;
• Shot Put: Jeremy Hoff, 1st, 49-3 1/4;
- Shot Put: Mike Barker, 3rd, 46-4; Ken Holcombe, 4th, 44-5; Robert Owens, 5th, 43-2 3/4;
- 1600 M: Jerry Baker, 2nd, 5:05.02; Jeremy Lee, 3rd, 5:05.52; Nolan Blalock, 4th, 5:20.54; Joe Sanchez, 5th, 5:22.49;
- High Jump: Jerry Baker, 3rd, 5-8;
- 4x100: Payson 1st, Andrew Easton, Heath Boyle, Josh Barnhardt, David Shaw, 45-81;
- 300 Hurdles: Andrew Easton, 2nd, 44.58;
- 800 Hurdles: Heath Boyle, 1st, 2:09.92;Andy Pederson, 3rd, 2:12.32; Kaare Wagner, 4th, 2:12.72; Mike Sprinkle, 5th, 2:13.14;
- 200 Hurdles: Josh Barnhardt, 1st, 23.01; Jane Vasileski, 5th, 29.94;
- Discus: Mike Baker, 1st, 142-9; Robert Owens, 3rd, 119-3; Jeremy Hoff, 4th, 117-3; Ken Holcombe, 5th, 115-8;
- Pole Vault: Jeremy Baker, 8-6;
• Triple Jump: Mike Sprinkle, 4th, 33-11.