The Longhorn cross country teams' seven-year reign as coed champions of the Sludge to the Judge race ended Sept. 25 on Main Street.
There, former PHS track and football coach Dennis Hansen's Tucson Mountain View team won the men's, women's and coed titles of the 12th annual homecoming event.
In the men's competition, the Tucson school took first place with a meet-low 29 points. With 33, Payson was second and Skyline trailed with 76. Among the women, Mountain View dominated tallying 15 points. Payson, 48, was runner-up and Skyline, 75, third.
In the coed competition, Mountain View finished with 44 points, Payson had 81 and Skyline carded 151.
Mountain View's victory also broke the Longhorns' stranglehold on the traveling trophy that has remained in Payson 10 of the 12 years the run has existed.
Although the Payson team did not retain possession of the Sludge trophy, the Horns' Carlan Pontious (13:01) won individual honors finishing 11 seconds ahead of runner-up James Schow of Mountain View.
Although Pontious did not break the course record off 12:49 set by Cactus Shadow's Brian Benham in 1997, he did set a PHS school record. The previous PHS best was 13:03 set by Joe Behrens in 2002.
The team also turned in the "strong pack running" that coach Chuck Hardt has called the secret of cross country success.
Of the top 15 finishers, six were from Payson. They included Lance Chabot (4th; 13:42), David Cluff (5th; 13:58), Bryson Addington (11th; 14:32), Erik Monty (12th; 14:34) and Josh Lymer (13th; 14:36).
Normally having six runners finish in the top 15 would produce a victory. At Friday's run, however, Mountain View countered with seven athletes among the top 15.
The Longhorns were without one of its best performers, sophomore Carlos Lopez, who could not participate due to the death of his grandfather. In most races this season, Lopez has only been a few seconds behind Pontious.
Other Longhorn finishers included Martin Dorris (16th; 14:54), Jonny Malloy (24th; 15:32), Eric Lammers (29th; 15:43), Kyle Pugel (35th; 16:31), Steve Gilson (38th; 16:42), Issac Cluff (39th; 16:52), Casey Randell (44th; 17:16) and Dillion Hedgpath (49th; 17:37).
Huddlestun paces Payson
For the Lady Horns, Alesha Huddlestun led the Payson contingent, finishing 41st (16:57) in the coed field and sixth among the girls.
Mountain View's Brook Schmelter won the girls title in 15:37.
The school and meet record of 15:06 was established in 2000 by Whitney Hardt.
Also representing the Lady Horns were Lana Cluff (52nd overall; 18:02), Samantha Elliott (55th; 18:12), Sarah Agnes (58th; 18:35), Shanna Coleman (59th; 19:12), and Crystal Sprinkle (73rd; 22:02).
A field of 76 boys and girls runners participated in the event.
Although school will be in fall break Oct. 4 through Oct. 15, the cross country teams are in action Oct. 9 at the Coconino Invitational at Fort Tuthill near Flagstaff.
Hardt canceled an Oct. 6 meet at Cactus Shadows saying he wanted to use the time to condition and train rather than compete.
In other late schedule changes, Hardt has opted the teams out of the Holbrook Invitational Oct. 22 and instead will take the squads to the Queen Creek Invitational Oct. 20.