An Underdog Tale

Small school not limited by size

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The Cinderella story of Todd Kreimeyer continues to stand center stage at Payson High School.

The most recent fitting of the glass slipper occurred May 20 at Chandler High School where Kreimeyer came from behind to win the 100 meter event of the prestigious Meet of Champions.

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Todd Kreimeyer spent three years in track and field obscurity due mostly to injuries. His senior year, however, he blossomed into Arizona's first 100-meter sprinter.

"I was third coming out of the blocks," he said. "I'm not a very good starter. I caught the other two and passed them at about 80 meters."

Kreimeyer was timed in at 11:24. Runner up Ray Miller of Westview was clocked in at 11:31 and bronze medalist Jonathan Arrington of Moon Valley finished in 11:68.

Although Kreimeyer entered the event as the 3A state champ in both the 100 and 200 meters, he was a huge underdog mostly because he represented a small school conference and the other runners had recorded faster times than he.

But rising to the occasion, Keimeyer proved to 4A and 5A coaches, athletes and fans that bigger is not necessarily better.

"I was a little bit intimidated by the (big school) runners, but once I started, I didn't think about it," he said.

Also for Payson in the Meet of Champions, Carlan Pontious took third in the 1600 meters in 4:28.92. The winner, Romero Curley of Chinle, is the same runner who edged Pontious in the Class 3A state meet May 13 at Mesa High School. Curley was timed in 4:27.21.

Runner-up Victor Zazueta of Desert View finished in 4:28.19.

In the 3200 meters, David Cluff was fifth, breaking 10 minutes for the first time in his four-year track and field career.

The MOC is an Arizona Interscholastic Association event that represents a continuation of the Luke-Greenway Meet of Champions that has been held from the 1950s to 2002. After falling by the wayside for lack of a sponsor, the MOC returned after receiving financial backing from Sports Chalet.

The meet was held in memory of former AIA media director and Barry Sollenberger's Football Magazine publisher Barry Sollenberger who died of a heart attack June 23, 2005.

Sollenberger, widely hailed as the guru of Arizona Prep sports, was called "a gift to kids" at his memorial service. According to meet director Joe Hilbe, the mission of the meet is to provide a forum where the best athletes from each state championship meet, 1A to 5A, and clash in a head-to-head finals only competition.

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