Competing without senior Cole Newbold, who has quit the team, the Longhorn boys cross country team had to settle for a second-place finish at a four-way meet held Sept. 19 at Phoenix Mountain View Park.
As the most accomplished veteran runner on the team, Newbold was expected to lead the Longhorn charge to the regional and state honors this season.
Now that he has departed, a young crew of runners paced by Joe Behrens, Dustin Rodgers, Brian Langeliers and Daniel Jacobs will have to assume the leadership role.
At the Phoenix meet, the foursome turned in a strong showing of pack running to help the team finish second behind Prescott. The Badger carded a meet low 18 points, Payson tallied 52, Scottsdale Chaparral had 54 and host Sunnyslope trailed with 100.
Individually, Behrens was seventh (18:28), Rodgers ninth (18:30), Langeliers 10th (18:31) and Jacobs 11th (18:33).
"Anytime you get in the 18s (minutes), that's good because it means you are improving," Hardt said.
Over the 3.1-mile course, 35 runners participated from the four schools.
Also representing the Longhorns were Danny Malloy (15th; 19:36), Martin Garcia (16th; 19:40), Tanner Morgan (23rd; 20:57), Brett Williams (24th; 20:59) and Josh Sprinkle (25th; 21:44).