Senior Chris Donaldson's two first-place finishes paved the way for Longhorn track and field victories over East rivals Snowflake, Round Valley and Blue Ridge.
April 2, on the new all-weather track surface at Payson High School, Donaldson won both the 110- (15.0) and 300-meter hurdles (40.6). His clocking in the 110 tied his personal record set earlier this season.
In both wins, Donaldson defeated Snowflake's two-time East regional hurdles champion, Chad Kartcher.
In the 110, Donaldson had never beaten the Snowflake star.
Kartcher's second-place finish was timed just .1 of a second off Donaldson's pace.
In the 300 hurdles, the chase to the finish line was equally as close. Donaldson was clocked in 40.6 and Kartcher in 40.7.
Following the victories, Donaldson said he was elated with the upset wins, but realized the longtime foes will clash at least three more times this season.
Barring any injuries, the rivalry will end their duel May 9 and 10 at the regional championships at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside.
Donaldson's efforts helped the Longhorns post a meet-winning 111 points. With 97, Snowflake was a close second. Round Valley (30) was third and Blue Ridge (22) fourth.
The narrow one-two finish between the Horns and Lobos is probably a preview of things to come. The two teams are expected to battle tooth-and-nail for the East regional championship at the conclusion of the regular season
Like Donaldson, junior Tanner Morgan provided a huge boost to the Longhorns' winning showing in the four-way meet. In the 1,600 meters, Morgan's late charge nipped teammate Dustin Rodgers at the finish line. Morgan was clocked in 4:59.2 and Rodgers in 4:59.3.
Later, Morgan ran his way to a second gold medal, winning the 3,200 meters in 10:46.
Other meet champions for Payson included Alex Cassuto (pole vault; 14 feet), Jake Swartwood (high jump; 6 feet, 2 inches) and Joe Behrens (800 meters; 2:06).
The Longhorns 4x100 relay team of Joe Behrens, Luke Apfel, Chris Donaldson and Andrew Karlowski took first place in 3:37.
The 4x800 foursome of Rodgers, Morgan, Behrens and Brian Langeliers posted a winning time of 8:46 that was almost a full minute faster than that of runner-up Snowflake (9:43.6).