The Payson High School boys track and field team ran, jumped and threw its way to a third-place finish at the Desert Classic Invitational meet March 5 at Queen Creek High School.
In the season opener, the Horns piled up 65 points to trail meet champion Cactus Shadows (103) and runner-up Valley Christian (92.5) in the 22-team field.
The finest performance in the Longhorns' third-place effort was turned in by the 4x800 relay team of Tanner Morgan, Brian Langeliers, Dustin Rodgers and Joe Behrens. The foursome churned out a school record clocking of 8:18.9 that shattered the PHS mark of 8:20.4 the team set at last year's Class 3A state championship meet.
"We lapped about six teams," Rodgers said.
The runner-up relay squad, Chandler Catholic Seton, finished about 36 seconds behind the Payson crew.
If the team continues to improve as coach Chuck Hardt anticipates, the foursome could be a contender for the 4A title when the championships are held May 13 to 15 at Mesa College.
In addition to Behrens, Rodgers and Langeliers participation on the record-setting 4x800 team, the trio of seniors dominated the 800-meter run. Behrens won the event in 2:00.76 nipping runner-up Mike Sanders of Sedona by .08 of a second. Rodgers finished third (2:04.86) and Langeliers was fourth (2:06.89).
Their efforts in the run produced 21 team points.
Morgan also helped post team points finishing second in the 3,200 meters (10:06.00) and third in the 1,600 meters (4:51.69).
More results from the Desert Classic Queen Creek HS (Outdoor) Finals
Men's 200m Dash
1: Luke Apfel 3rd 23.80
Men's 100m Dash
2: Luke Apfel 2nd 11.76
Joshua Szabo 6th 12.19
Men's 400m Dash
3: Benny Hartnell 10th OA 55.54
4: Jeffery Little 25th OA 58.92
Men's 4x400m Relay
Payson HS 2nd OA 3:37.4
Men's Discus Throw
W. Cassuto 8th 124' 2"
Men's Triple Jump
Brian Schwind 11th 37' 2.5"
Tyler Danielson 12th 37' 0.5"
Men's Long Jump
Brendan Van Zile 16th 17' 1.75"
Men's Shot Put
Joshua Szabo 19th 37' 2.5"
Alex Winchester 19th 37' 2.5"