Longhorns Survive Tally Gaffe

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A scoring snafu wasn't enough to derail the Longhorn boys track and field team's effort to bring home the championship of the inaugural Lost Dutchman Invitational.

When the final score sheets were tallied at the meet April 16 in Apache Junction, first-place team points in the 4x800 relay were awarded to Glendale Cortez. Payson was scored as the event runner-up.

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Freshman Nick Ford is one of the many athletes throws coach Jon Gunzel can call upon. Ford is shown in action April 21 in a three-way meet at PHS against Mingus and Mogollon.

PHS coach Chuck Hardt is not sure how the mix-up occurred, but Payson actually won the relay and Cortez was second.

"(The score) was not corrected down there, I caught it Monday morning," Hardt said.

The Apache Junction score sheet shows the 4x800 PHS team had a clocking of 8:47. That slow of a time is probably not accurate for the speedy foursome that is among the best in the state.

The final team standings indicated Payson had won the invitational crown with 85 points. With 83, Cortez was a close runner-up. An accurate score should have shown Payson finished first with 88 points and Cortez was second with 77.

Trailing Payson and Cortez in the final standings were host Apache Junction (56) and Higley (36).

In the Lost Dutchman skirmish, senior Tanner Morgan continued his season-long strong showings in the distance events. Morgan churned out a 4:47 clocking to win the 1,600 meters and captured the 3,200 meters in 10:40.

The 800-meter run turned out to be one of the most exciting events of the meet when Joe Behrens nipped teammate Dustin Rogers at the finish line. Behrens was clocked in 2:08.64 and Rogers in 2:08.65.

According to Hardt, the two runners' relatively slow times --oth consistently run closer to two minutes -- was a bit deceiving.

"I asked them to run negative splitting (for training purposes) so they backed off (the first lap)," Hardt said. "They ran the last lap very fast. They could have run the 800 faster if we were not working on negative splitting."

Morgan, Rogers, Behrens and Brian Langeliers make up the 4x800 relay team that set a school record March 27 at the Chandler Invitational.

Payson's silver medalists at Apache Junction included J.R. Szabo (100 meters; no time), Jeff Little (400; 51:92), Mike Barr (shot put; 44 feet), Wellington Cassuto (discus; 124 feet, 1 inch) and Luke Apfel (200; 22:95).

Third-place finishers were Kyle Hubbard (110 hurdles; 16:44 and 300 hurdles; 42.20), Tyler Danielson (long jump; 19 feet, 4 1/2 inches), David Cluff (3200; 11:11) and Branden Echols (200; 23:65).

Frosh meet

The younger members of the track team will return to action tomorrow (Saturday) at the Freshman/Sophomore Payson Invitational. A total of 18 schools are expected to participate. Field events begin at 10:30 a.m. and action will continue until about 3 p.m.

A meet highlight -- the coed 4x800 -- relay will begin about 11:30 a.m.

On hand to officiate the pole vault will be Greg Hull, coach of the 2000 Olympic pole vault champion Nick Hysong.

There is no admission charge for spectators.

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