Flagstaff was the site for the first meet of the season for the Payson High School's boys and girls cross country teams.
There were 40 teams represented from 5A to 1A at the Peaks Invitational at Buffalo Park. Set at an altitude of 7,000 feet and with temperatures in the low 80s Coach Chuck Hardt felt it was a little warmer than the runners would have preferred, but due to the size of the meet, he was happy with his team's performance.
The varsity girls had the highest-place finisher of the day when Whitney Hardt completed the 5K run in second place with a time of 19:45.
There were a total of 180 runners in the race, which was won by Jill St. Germaine of Chinle with a time of 19.44. Payson's Lily Flores finished 39th with a time of 22.45 followed by Michelle Closs in 54th place with a time of 23:21; Shalynn McGee, 68th with a time of 23:46 and Sarah Hummer in 131st with a finish time of 26:15.
Overall the Payson ladies placed 10th with a combined team score of 294. Flagstaff won the meet with a score of 102 followed by last year's 5A state champion Desert Vista, 121 and runner-up Mountain Point, 123.
The boys division had 185 runners. Payson sophomores Dustin Rodgers and Brian Langliers competed on the varsity level for their first time and finished 79th and 113th respectively with times of 19:11 and 20:01.
Daniel Jacobs completed the 5K in 89th place with a time of 19:25 followed by Cole Newbold, 91st with 19:27; Joe Behrens, 119th with 20:04 and Martin Garcia, 132nd with a time of 20:25.
Danny Malloy was unable to finish the race due to respiratory problems which caused him to collapse. Coach Hardt said Malloy has a touch of asthma and had been ill prior to the run.
"The combination of the two got to him." Hardt said. Mallow was able to recover without medical attention after rest and hydration.
Payson also had two runners in the junior varsity division, which featured 170 competitors. Josh Dahm finished 63rd with a time of 21:32 and Josh Sprinkle finished 116th with a time of 23:49. Both Dahm and Sprinkle ran for training purposes as it takes five runners per school to obtain a team score.
Page took the meet with a team score of 150 followed by Hopi, 157 and Prescott, 171.
"Hopi will be tough this year," the coach said. "They moved up to 3A this year after dominating the 2A."
Payson will host its first 5K meet Wednesday, Sept. 5. The run will be held on the front nine holes of the Payson Golf Course. Rim Country Middle School will run at 2 p.m. followed by the high school at 3 p.m.