In 4A and 5A big city track and field circles, Whitney Hardt's stunning upset of Duke-bound Sally Myerhoff in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs was a real shocker.
But in the Rim country where she is known for her tenacity and gutsy running style Hardt's win was just another in her long line of accomplishments.
Hardt's twin victories over the Mountain Pointe running superstar were chalked up March 23 at the prestigious Chandler Rotary Invitational. Her winning times of 5:04.3 in the 1,600 and 11:06 in the 3,200 were both personal bests and school records.
Payson High throws coach Pete Greer was on the sidelines watching the 1,600-meter action.
"Whitney beat Myerhoff, the 5A cross country state champion, by out-sprinting her in the last 100 meters," he said.
Greer also was there when Hardt won the 3,200.
"In a rematch of the 1,600, the two ran shoulder to shoulder for seven laps," he said. "On the eighth lap, Whitney once again out-kicked Myerhoff and Ariel Lattimore of Mingus."
Hardt's triumphs over Myerhoff stamp the Payson High School sophomore as the best long-distance runner in the state.
Myerhoff a senior is widely considered one of the best distance runners to have ever attended an Arizona high school.
Myerhoff's 1,600-meter time of 4:53.04, set last year when she was a junior, was the fourth-best time ever turned in by an Arizona prep runner.
Her 10:49.13 clocking in the 3,200 meters, also set last year, ranked fifth in the all-time standings.