As one of the Rim country's most accomplished long-distance runners, Tanner Morgan has excelled in cross country, track and field and at several local 5K races.
He can now add triathlons to his list of accomplishments.
The 18-year-old Payson High School senior says he entered his first triathlon, Feb. 28 in Glendale, as a personal challenge to learn how he would fare.
Competing in the 17-19-year-old men's division, Morgan ran, swam and cycled his way to first place in his age group and a third overall.
"I didn't think I would do that good," he said.
Over the sprint triathlon course that included a 3.5-mile run, a 12-mile bike ride and a quarter-mile swim, Morgan was clocked in 59:28. The toughest event of the three, he said, was the swim.
His success in the event has prompted the United States Air Force to offer him the opportunity to try out for their triathlon team. Morgan has pre-enlisted in the USAF and will report for basic training July 13.
His showing in Glendale also led Morgan to sign up for an Olympic marathon next month near Lake Havasu. The distances there will be longer than the sprint triathlon he competed in at Glendale.
"It's a 1,500-meter swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run," Morgan said.
Because of the longer distances, Morgan has stepped up his training sessions. For now, he works out with the Payson High School track team. Last season while representing PHS, Morgan finished sixth in the state in the 1,600 meters. In the 3,200 meters, he was seventh.
As a member of the Longhorn cross country team last fall, he was the Payson boys only state qualifier. He went on to finish 25th in the Class 4A championships.