For unknown reasons, the Lady Longhorns' final team score was not included in the standings when the results of the Coconino Invitational were tabulated.
Veteran coach Chuck Hardt said such an oversight had never happened to one of his teams before.
"It had to be an official's oversight, that's all I can think of," he said.
Had the team's final score been calculated, the coach and runners said they were confident they would have finished among the top five in the 12-team field.
Flagstaff, a favorite to challenge for the Class 4A state championship, claimed the invitational title with 38 points. Trailing the Eagles were Ganado (65), Tuba City (95) and Winslow (116).
In the field of 76 varsity runners that included some of the premier athletes in the state, Jenny Cohen ran to 15th place in 21:42.
Championship honors were garnered by Flagstaff's Annie Falor in 19:41. The Eagle runner is ranked among the top five in the state and has college recruiters drooling for her services.
In addition to Falor's first-place finish, Flagstaff runners placed fourth, eighth and ninth.
The powerful Eagle roster is not good news for the Lady Horn regional cause. Because both Flagstaff and Payson are members of the 4A Grand Canyon region, the two teams will clash in a head-to-head meeting Nov. 1 at the GC finals Nov. 1.
Getting past the Eagles and earning a Grand Canyon title will be a huge challenge for the PHS runners.
Lauren Stewart (34th; 22:54) and Alesha Huddlestun (35th; 22:56) also competed for Payson at Coconino, as well as Briana Quinlan (63rd; 25:43), Lacy Mae Myers (65th; 25:43), Molly Agnes (70th; 27:08) and Yanni Krebiel (72nd; 28:09).
In junior varsity action, Sarah Agnes finished 19th (25:25) in the 51-runner field. Hannah Lee was 38th (28:03) and Becca Sandoval ran to 43rd place (28:56).
The Lady Horns return to action Oct. 24 at the Holbrook Invitational.