The powerful Lady Longhorn cross country squad takes its high octane running act East to the White Mountains today (Oct. 22) where the Snowflake Lobos host one of the most prestigious East division meets of the fall season.
With the weather expected to be relatively warm and dry for the Snowflake Invitational, conditions should be much more favorable than a few years ago when runners were forced to brave freezing temperatures and blowing snow throughout the three-mile-plus run.
Tales still abound in the Longhorn camp of the players running backward to avoid the chilling headwinds that froze eyebrows and perspiration rock solid.
The frigid temperatures created a new nick-name for the Snowflake Invitational among Payson veterans -- the "Ice Bowl."
No matter what the conditions are today in Lobo land, the Lady Horns will be sporting one of the most formidable squads in the history of the program at Payson High.
The list of the team's 1999 accomplishments is an extensive one that grew even larger Oct. 13 at the Show Low Invitational.
In winning the meet with a low 20 points, the Lady Horns dominated many of the same teams they will see at the Snowflake Invitational. Only Alchesay, with 68 points, gave the Rim runners much of a tussle. Show Low (73) was third and Holbrook (119) fourth in the six-school field.
Individual honors in the varsity girls field, which drew 35 entrants, was taken by PHS sophomore Leigh Ann Haynes in 20:18.
Trailing Haynes to the finish line was a bevy of top-10 Payson runners. They included Shalyn McGee (third; 21:16), Lily Flores (fourth; 21:21), Amy Davis (fifth; 21:29), Mary Mendoza (seventh; 21:47), Stephanie Ray (10th; 22:12).
Also representing Payson, senior Lyndsay Heizer was 30th in 25:45.
In the jayvee girls competition, the Lady Horns had to take a backseat to Alchesay but by a mere three points.
The Falcons tallied a low 30. Payson finished with 33 despite the fact the Horns fielded the top three finishers among the 26 participants.
Michelle Closs ran her way to the gold medal in 22:28, edging teammate Rachelle McGee who was second in 22:49.
With a time of 23:01, Katrina Beeler copped the jayvee bronze.
After taking the top three slots, the Lady Horns were no where to be found until Sara Siverson crossed the finish line 13th in 26:02.
Other jayvee entrants included Sarah Hummer (14th; 26:01), Samantha Meyers (15th; 26:12), Cassandra MacNac (18th; 27:22) and Brandyce Engler (22nd; 28:03).
While the girls were flexing their collective muscle in Cougar country, the Jeremy Lee-led Longhorns were ground-pounding their way to a third-place showing in the six-team field. With 72 points, Payson trailed runner-up Holbrook (53) and gold medalist Alchesay (45).
Battling 33 runners, Lee nabbed silver-medal honors touring the course in 16:33. Other varsity representatives were Nolan Blalock (seventh; 18:06), Wes Sprinkle (16th; 18:46), Joe Sanchez (19th; 19:27) and Matt Christianer (28th; 20:37).
In boys junior varsity scoring, Payson (48) was second behind meet champion Show Low (27).
Although Cole Newbold was first among 20 jayvee participants, he did not receive an official ET due to a timing miscue.
Payson's Alex Cassuto finished eighth in 21:51. Other jayvees included Martin Garcia (11th; 22:13), Danny Malloy (13th; 22:34) and Josh Sprinkle (15th; 23:13).