David Cluff paced the Longhorn cross country team's effort at the Four Corners Invitational running to a 13th place finish in 16:56.
The winner of the meet, held Sept. 17 at Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, was Matt Rowell of Blue Ridge. Rowell toured the 5K course in a very swift 15:55.
The runner-up, Rio Rico's Mark Molera, finished more than 30 seconds behind Rowell.
Cluff's showing helped propel Payson to a ninth-place finish in the 25-team field. Payson's total time for five runners was 1:30.26, with an average of 18:01 for each entrant.
Meet champion Rio Rico's total time was 1:24.42, with an average of 16:56.40.
Also representing the Longhorns in the meet were Carlan Pontious (22nd; 17:13), Carlos Lopez (36th; 17:32), Bryson Addington (93rd; 19:11), Lee Perez (94th; 19:12), Daniel McGee (95th; 19:13) and Tommy Ashby (124th; 19:57). In all, 171 runners participated in the varsity meet.
In the junior varsity field, Jonny Malloy led the Longhorns with a 17th place finish in 19:28.
Trailing the team leader were Max Siverson (27th; 20:05), Trevor Day (53rd; 21:05), Levi Neal (54th; 21:06), Ollie Lewinson (76th; 22:33), Brian Schwind (77th; 22:36), Jeff Day (96th; 23:42), Pat Vlahovich (109th; 24:45) and Matt Jones (115th; 25:22). There were 124 jayvee athletes competing.
The Lady Longhorns
Without the mandatory five runners, the Lady Horns did not receive a team score and were not included in the final standings.
Among the trio that represented PHS, sophomore Lana Cluff posted a team leading 35th place finish in 22:07. Alesha Huddlestun was clocked in 22:17 and finished 42nd. In 104th, with a time of 24:48, was Sarah Agnes.
Chelsea Chauvet of Horizon won the event in 19:18. Just one second off the pace was Winslow's Janeen Yazzi.
Next up for both the boys and girls squad is the Sept. 24 Blue Ridge Invitational in Pinetop-Lakeside.
There, the boys will again have to face Blue Ridge's Rowell, the Four Corners champ, who has rapidly become the 3A conference's most accomplished long-distance runner.
Following the BR invitational, the PHS teams will begin preparations for a schedule highlight -- the Sludge to the Judge Homecoming Run, to be held on Main Street just prior to the traditional parade. Pontious is the defending boys champion.