Payson Runner To Compete In Prestigious Invitational

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Recent Payson High School graduate David Cluff has received an invitation to compete in the prestigious 31st Annual Great Southwest Track and Field Classic.

The elite competition, which is recognized as one of the top four postseason invitationals in the nation, will be held tomorrow, Saturday, in Albuquerque, N.M.

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David Cluff, left, has accepted an invitation to run in the prestigious Great Southwest Track and Field meet. Teammate Carlan Pontious was also invited, but has chosen not to participate. Cluff will compete in the 3200 meters.

Cluff will be entered in the 3200-meter event against a field of 20 of the finest runners from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.

According to the Great Southwest records, Cluff will enter with a personal best time of 9:40. With that, he is ranked 12th among the 3200-meter runners invited to the classic.

Kevin Schwab of Oklahoma has posted the best time of invitees with 9:10.10.

The top three runners all represent the state of Oklahoma.

The only other Arizona runners in the 3200 with Cluff are Victor Zazueta of Tucson and Donovan Tsinniginne of Page.

Zazueta enters with a time of 9:36 and Tsinniginne has recorded a 9:42 clocking.

In the Class 3A Arizona State Championships May 13 and 14 at Mesa High School, Cluff was fifth in both the 1600 and 3200 meters and he ran a leg on the Longhorn 4x800 relay team that was second.

Cluff graduated last week with the PHS Class of 2006.

Cluff's teammate on the Longhorn 3A state championship team, Carlan Pontious, also received an invitation to the Great Southwest, but turned it down.

In competing at the Great Southwest, Cluff joins a list of heralded Payson High alumni who also drew invitations for their track and field exploits.

They included Darren Reid, Todd Reid, Mark Hochstetler, Stephanie Robertson, Jon Gunzel, Julie Gunzel, Reanna Martinez and Bo Althoff.

The Southwest Classic debuted in 1930 to provide outstanding athletes in each state the opportunity to compete in a regional invitational meet. Many participating athletes have received scholarships as a result of their performance at the meet.

A number of alums have also gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, U.S. Olympic Trials and the NCAA championships.

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