Senior Jenny Cohen, competing in her first year of cross country, etched her name into the Payson High School record book by running to the girls championship of the Sludge to the Judge run.
In the Oct. 3 event, part of the PHS homecoming festivities, Cohen took the lead at the start line near the Northern Gila County Sanitary District and maintained it throughout the 2.3-mile course that traversed Main Street.
By the time she reached the finish line near the county complex, she had stretched a sizable lead over runner-up and teammate Alesha Huddlestun. PHS freshman Lauren Stewart finished 3rd.
At the finish line, the PHS runners were greeted by honorary meet director and Payson Justice of the Peace Ronnie McDaniel.
Each year, McDaniel purchases the trophies that are awarded to the meet champions.
In the boys competition, the best effort from a PHS athlete was turned in by freshman Carlos Lopez who finished fourth overall. Lance Chabot was fifth.
First-place honors went to a Marana Mountain View runner. The Mountain View team is coached by former Payson High School teacher and coach Dennis Hanson.
The PHS varsity boys were on hand at the Sludge to the Judge as spectators only. The following day, the boys traveled to Tempe Kiwanis Park where the competed in the 31st Annual Doug Conley Invitational Cross Country Meet (See the Oct. 10 Payson Roundup for complete results).
Immediately following the Sludge to the Judge competition, the homecoming parade wound its way from Julia Randall Elementary School to the north PHS parking lot.
A good-sized crowd of Longhorn fans cheered the floats and the homecoming royalty as the parade proceeded along Main Street. Some of the loudest accolades were directed toward the Northern Gila County Special Olympics team.
The week long festivities wrapped up that evening, after the Horns 10-7 win over Pinnacle, at the annual homecoming dance.