In most prep Class 3A track and field meets, younger athletes find themselves battling older and more seasoned juniors and seniors. That fact of life makes the playing field somewhat uneven for those just learning the sport.
When opportunities roll around for fledglings to pit their skills only against others of their own age and experience, the underclassmen want to make the most of the occasion.
One of those chances in which the younger track set had to shine fell partly by the wayside Saturday at the Payson Rotary Freshman-Sophomore Invitational held in Apache Junction. Midway through the meet, officials opted to call off the competition due to torrential rains that were drenching the AJHS track.
The local Rotary had relocated to Apache Junction due to the ongoing construction on the PHS track.
One of the events most adversely affected was the boys' discus.
"Rain soaked through the throwing ring and the competition become a battle of mostly standing throws," Payson High coach Pete Greer said.
In addition to canceling the boys discus, the 200-, 800-, 3,200-meter runs, boys pole vault and 4x400 relay events were not held.
Due to the cancellations, officials did not tabulate final team scores.
Among those events that were completed, the Longhorn youngsters did well, winning five gold medals and three silvers.
The golds were earned by Hillary Hardt (freshman girls discus; 93 feet, 3 inches), Brooke Bennett (sophomore girls long jump; 14 feet, 4 1/2 inches), Whitney Hardt (freshman girls mile; 5:06.96), Chris Donaldson (sophomore boys high jump; 5 feet, 8 inches) and the coed 4x800 relay team (Whitney Hardt, Joe Behrens, Brooke Bennett and Daniel Jacobs 9:21).
Donaldson's leap in the high jump was a personal record.
Silver-medal winners included Hillary Hardt (freshman girls shot put; 28 feet, 9 inches), Martin Garcia (sophomore boys 400 meters; 57.78) and Chris Donaldson (sophomore boys 300 hurdles; 45.95).
Results from Rotary meet
100 Jana Knighton, 6th, 13.59
Shot-Put Sasha Vaught, 6th, 21-9
Discus Sasha Vaught, 6th, 69-2
Hurdles Shalynn McGee, 3rd, 16.72
1600 Ashli Hererra, 3rd, 6:07.69
High Jump Vanessa McGlothin, 4th, 4-2
Shot-Put Kira Hillegas, 3rd, 23-0; Ashlee Nissen, 6th, 17-11
Discus Kira Hillegas, 4th, 68-10; Ashlee Nisan, 6th, 64-10
Hurdles Harley Taylor, 5th, 18.83
1600 Joe Behrens, 5th, 4:57.6
Long Jump Joe Behrens, 6th, 15-10
Discus Tyler Danielson, 3rd, 83-7
100 Josh Sprinkle, 8th, 12.53
1600 Brian Langeliers, 7th, 5:09.1; Daniel Jacobs, 4th, 5:06.81
Triple Jump Josh Sprinkle, 3rd, 33-11
Hurdles Chris Donaldson, 3rd, 16.07
Discus Lucas Schmidt, 3rd, 105-8