The Rotary Invitational Freshman and Sophomore Track and Field Meet are an aspiring athlete's dream competition.
The event is much anticipated mostly because the meet allows young athletes to test their skills against other teens near the same age and maturity. In varsity track events, freshmen and sophomores often find themselves going head-to-head against seniors who have the edge that comes with being older. Often seniors are more physically mature than their younger teammates.
Usually, it's the seniors who emerge victorious over the younger tricksters. But tomorrow, Saturday, in Longhorn stadium, the fledglings will have the opportunity to see how they fare when pitted against opponents the same age.
In most events, freshmen will battle other freshmen and sophomores challenge sophomores.
Seventeen teams from around the state, including several Class 4A and 5A schools, are scheduled to join Payson in the competition.
East region schools slated to participate include Blue Ridge, Round Valley and Show Low.
The competition tips off at 10:30 a.m. with the field events including shot put, discus, pole vault, high jump, long jump and triple jump.
The running events, including a 4x800 coed relay begin at 11:30 a.m.
The meet record of 9:25:03 was set by Pinnacle High School in 2004.
The 100 and 110 hurdles events will be run at 11:50 a.m.
Immediately after the hurdles, the 1600 meters, 4x100 rely and 400 meters will be run.
Following a 30-minute break, the 300 hurdles, 800 meters, 200 meters, 3200 meters and a 4x400 coed relay will be contested.
Cactus Shadows set the meet record for the coed relay of 3:57.03 last year.
Oddly enough, no Payson High School athletes hold Rotary individual records.
The more seasoned members of track teams travel today, Friday, to Snowflake for a state-qualifying meet. Those who attain certain minimum standards will be rewarded with automatic berths into the state tournament May 12 and 13 at Mesa High School.