In one of the Lady Longhorns' most hotly contested meets of the season, the team slipped past Glendale Cortez 95-85 to win the championship of the Lost Dutchman Invitational Track and Field meet April 16 in Apache Junction.
The Lady Longhorns might have completely dominated the competition had it not been for second-place finishes in the 4x800 and 4x100 relays. Both Lady Horn foursomes are commendable teams but Cortez managed to edge Payson in both events.
In the 4x800, Cortez turned in a 10:31 clocking to finish first. With an 11:03, the Lady Horns were second.
Payson's silver-medal showing in the 4x100 (52:78) was just shy of the ET turned in by Cortez (51:33).
Although Payson didn't have a double gold-medal winner, Krystal McRae was able to finish first in the 100 hurdles (18:04) and second in the 300 hurdles (52:66). In the 300, McRae was just .19 of a second behind the winning Cortez hurdler.
In the meet, senior Jenny Cohen put on display the speed and endurance that helped her become Payson's best cross-country runner last fall.
Cohen sped to the gold medal in the 1,600 meters (5:47) and in the 800 meters, she was third (2:44.3).
Britney Owens shined in the long jump winning the event with a leap of 15 feet, 7 inches. Her stiffest competition came from rapidly improving sophomore teammate Tracy Fitzpatrick who finished second (14 feet, 2 inches). Fitzpatrick also was third in the 400 meters (1:07.87) and fourth in the triple jump (28 feet, 9 inches).
Like Fitzpatrick, sophomore Kendra Francis is going to be a force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by her winning long jump of 31 feet, 7 inches.
Other gold-medal winners for Payson were Megan Miles (shot put; 26 feet, 7 1/2 inches), Sarah Christensen (discus; 82 feet, 4 inches) and Melissa McLaws (high jump; 4 feet, 10 inches).
Alesha Huddlestun ran her way to a second-place finish in the 3,200 meters (13:21).
Third-place winners included freshman Lauren Stewart (1,600 meters; 6:05), Irene Calzadias (shot put: 26 feet, 5 1/2 inches) and the 1,600-meter relay team.
The younger members of the Lady Longhorn team, like Fitzpatrick and Francis, will have the opportunity to showcase their skills against opposing athletes of similar age and experience at the Payson Freshman/Sophomore Invitational. The meet begins at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday). Eighteen schools have entered the fray.