Lady Longhorn cross country runners didn't have to battle a former classmate and ex-Rim Country Middle School running sensation Kari Hardt at the Queen Creek Invitational.
Coaches held Hardt, now one of the state's finest prep runners and a student at Queen Creek H.S., out of the Oct. 20 invitational so she could train for a national showdown held Oct. 23.
Without their star in the lineup, the QC Lady Bulldogs (99) had to settle for a third place finish behind runner-up Payson (70) and meet champ Valley Christian (47).
Globe (102) and Fountain Hills (117) trailed in the final standings.
Alesha Huddlestun earned herself a top-10 T-shirt with a 7th place finish touring the nearly 5K course in 20:39.
Freshman Lana Cluff turned in one of her finest efforts of the season finishing 11th in 22:06.
Other PHS runners included Sarah Agnes (12th; 22:12), Samantha Elliott (13th; 22:27), Shanna Coleman (27th; 23:17) and Crystal Sprinkle (37th; 26:02).
In the junior varsity events, the Lady Horns didn't receive a team score because the required five runners were not entered.
Speedy freshman Janet Echols earned a medal finishing 8th in 24:43.
The only other Lady Horn JV, Jennifer Sandoval had a gutsy effort running to 22nd (27:11).
Next up for the Lady Horns in the Grand Canyon regional championships Oct. 30 in Page.