By capturing a meet-high nine gold medals, the defending state champion Lady Longhorn track and field team ran, jumped and threw its way to a first-place finish at the Arizona Boys Ranch Cactus Classic Invitational.
Saturday, on the campus of ABR in Queen Creek, the Lady Horns piled up 162 points to easily outdistance runner-up Snowflake (104).
With Round Valley's (58) finishing third, the East Region can claim to have nailed down the top three finishes in the 17-team field.
In addition to winning the girls' team title, the Lady Longhorns brought home the Outstanding Female Athlete Award, which went to Rheanna Martinez.
The junior speedster took first place honors in the 200 meters (26.6), long jump (16 feet, 9 inches) and the triple jump (no distance available). She was also second in the 100 meters (12.73).
Other individual gold-medal winners included Jocie Gressley (shot put; 33 feet, 1 1/2 inches), Sara Schmidt (100-meter hurdles; 16:00), Brianna Marshall (400 meters; 1:04.22) and Leighanne Haynes (800 meters; 2:30.05).
In the relay events, Payson's 4x100 and 4x800 teams took top laurels. The 4x100 foursome of Marshall, Katie Langeliers, Schmidt and Samantha Ellsworth toured the one-lap Boys Ranch course in 53.7.
Legging out a clocking of 10:40, Brooke Bennett, Michelle Closs, Haynes and Amy Davis won the 4x800 event.
A strong showing from Jeremy Lee and David Shaw propelled the Longhorn boys' team to a second-place finish in the 18-team field. Class 2A power Valley Christian accumulated 78 points to win the team title. Payson finished with 63 while Winslow and Snowflake tied for third with identical scores of 61.
Lee stamped himself as one of the best long-distance runners in the 3A conference by winning the 1,600 meters in 4:43.
Shaw, the PHS school record holder in the 100 meters, took the 200-meter title in 23.07. In a very talented 100-meter field, Shaw had to settle for fourth place (11:09).