The snowy blizzard that stormed through Northern Arizona, closing roads and schools, didn't slow the Payson High School track team express.
Both the boys and girls squads steamed ahead, because the March 14 meet on the team's agenda was indoors.
In the Walkup Skydome Classic on the campus of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, athletes from the eight high school teams battled tooth and nail, completely oblivious to the freezing temperatures outdoors and the more than three feet of snow that had fallen.
In the clash, the Longhorns stamped themselves as regular season region championship contenders by posting 68 points, and finishing second to longtime East foe Snowflake. Blue Ridge, also an East member, was third with 65.5 points.
The Horns' silver medal feat was encouraging for coach Chuck Hardt, considering the team was missing a few athletes because PHS is in the midst of a two-week spring break.
"We tell the kids (that) family is the most important (thing). So, some are on vacations and doing family things," Hardt said.
The Lady Horns, also depleted by spring break, struggled to a fifth place showing with 29 points.
Snowflake (95.5) took first, Blue Ridge (84.5) was second and 3A North region member Winslow (75) was third. With 38.5 points, Canyon State was fourth.
For the boys team, Carlan Pontious, Brandon Echols and Todd Kreimeyer sped their way to gold medals.
Pontious won both the 800 and 1500 meter runs. His clocking of 2:04.69 in the 800 was particularly impressive in that the meet was held on a tight indoor track and in early season. When he rounds into topnotch shape later in the spring, his times could be even better.
In the 1500 meters, Pontious toured the course in 4:17.66.
The speedy Echols won the 60 meter dash in 7:28 and Kreimeyer took the 200 in 23:49.
The Lady Horns did not have any first or second place finishers but Nikki DeWeese was third in the long jump.
More results from Flagstaff
Robert Walker, high jump
Todd Kreimeyer, 60
Shanna Coleman, pole vault
Nick Goodman, pole vault
Nikki DeWeese, long jump
David Cluff, 1500
Kayla O'Donnell, Shot
Sarah Agnes, pole vault (tie)
Nikki DeWeese, high jump
Amy Buckner, Janet Echols, Alesha Huddlestun, Panda Stackhouse, 4x400 Relay
Todd Kreimeyer, 400
Jenna Robertson, long jump
Carlos Lopez, 800
Janet Echols, 400
Jenna Robertson, high jump
Nick Goodman, Joe Blackburn, Bryson Addington, Carlan Pontious, 4x400 Relay
Lana Cluff, 3000