They might not be the among the most talented cross country teams in the East region, but the Wes Sprinkle-led Longhorn runners always manage to show up and give a good accounting of themselves.
The team's most recent effort was turned in Saturday at the Blue Ridge Invitational in Lakeside.
There, the Horns ran their way to a 13th-place finish in the rugged 20-team field. Powerful Hopi (48) won the meet title over runner-up Winslow (83) and third-place Alchesay (100).
In cross country circles, Hopi and Winslow are projected to be contenders for the 3A state championship.
Alchesay is also a force in the conference primarily because of the efforts of defending state champion Blain Goklisch. The Whiteriver speedster ran his way to the BR gold covering the 3.1-mile course in 17:00.
Sprinkle Payson's most consistent long-distance threat finished 53rd in the 105-runner field. He was timed in 19:47.
Also turning in a good showing for Payson was 57th-place finisher Cole Newbold (19:56). Others who represented the PHS varsity were Danny Malloy (82nd; 21:16), James Rivas (93rd; 22:26) and Belgium exchange student Gery DeBongnie (105th; 26:51).
The younger set
In the junior varsity competition which drew 90 runners, Payson had two athletes Daniel Jacobs and Noah Barnes who earned medals by finishing in the top 15. Jacobs was clocked in 19:54 and Barnes in 19:59. The winning runner toured the course in 17:53.
Also competing for the PHS jayvees were Joe Behrens (20th; 20:06), Martin Garcia (21:06), Tanner Morgan (48th; 22:32), David Curtiss (57th; 23:19), Troy Marrs (69th; 24:55) and Andrew Crane (72nd; 25:30). Crane was running in his first cross country meet.
Both the varsity and jayvee teams return to action today (Friday) in the Sludge to the Judge competition to be held on Main Street as a part of the PHS homecoming activities. The boys run begins about 1:35 p.m. The girls competition immediately follows.