Lady Longhorn cross country fortunes received a huge boost when it finally picked up the mandatory five runners needed for a team.
The No. 5 team member, Brianna Quinlan, joined the squad late in the year and rendered the team eligible for a team score.
Her presence also helped the Lady Horns finish fourth in the East region meet and earn a coveted bid in the state championships.
At the 3A finals, Nov. 5 at Cave Creek Golf Course, the surprising Lady Horns -- once a noncontender -- ran to a 10th place showing.
Considering the Lady Horns opened the season with just three runners and were a nonentity in meets -- the effort was a commendable one.
Individually, hardworking sophomore Lana Cluff led the Lady Horns at state running to a 37th place finish in the 111-runner field. Cluff toured the 3-mile course in 23:00.
Meet champion Janeen Yazzi of Winslow was clocked in 20:20.
Lady Horn Alesha Huddlestun took 46th in 23:37.
Marquel Waterman, who joined the team in late September as the fourth member, was 85th in 26:58.
Also for Payson, Quinlan finished 94th and Sarah Agnes was 96th.
Quinlan was timed in 27:52 and Agnes in 28:12.
The Lady Horns' five runners posted 305 points. Ganado easily won the state championship with 61. Trailing were runner-up Window Rock (90), bronze medalist Winslow (90) and fourth place Hopi (91).
From the East region, Alchesay, Blue Ridge and Holbrook also competed.
Alchesay finished fifth (111), Blue Ridge was sixth (131) and Holbrook eighth (197).