School Assembly Honors Track Accomplishments

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Payson High School students, teachers, coaches and administrators took time out Friday to honor members of the 2006 Longhorn 3A state champion track and field team.

In a midday school assembly, assistant principal Tim Fruth, also a town counselor, presented the keys to the town to team members. The athletes in turn awarded the state championship trophy to principal Roy Sandoval.

The last time the Longhorns won a state track and field title was 1989 when the stars were Mark Hochstettler, T.J. Clifford and Darren Reid.

The standouts of the 2006 edition turned out to be Todd Kreimeyer, Brandon Echols, Carlan Pontious and David Cluff. Last week, all received invitations to compete in the prestigious Meet of Champions held May 20 at Chandler High School.

Kreimeyer earned an automatic berth by virtue of winning both the 100 and 200 meters May 12 and 13 at the 3A state championships held at Mesa High School.

State champs in all classes, 1A-5A, are seeded automatically into the Meet of Champions.

Echols, Pontious and Cluff received late arriving invitations based on their outstanding performances in the state championships.

Echols finished as runner up to Kreimeyer in both sprints. He was also a member of the Horns 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Pontious was second in the 1600, fifth in the 800, seventh in the 3200 meters and a member of the 4x800 relay team.

Cluff took fifth in both the 3200 and 1600 meters and was also on the 4x800 relay squad.

Although the headlines and post season invitations flowed the way of the four, the state championship would not be resting in Payson had it not been for the team points racked up by the third through eighth place finishers. In state scoring, having two athletes finish third and fourth is worth more team points than a single first place showing.

In the high jump at the state meet, the Payson cause received a huge boost from the 17 points earned by Brian Schwind, Troy Brown and Robert Walker.

Schwind cleared 6 feet, 2 inches to finish third. Brown also leaped 6 feet, 2 inches but was fourth on fewer misses.

Walker soared 6 feet, to take sixth.

"To have three (athletes) be in the state's top 10 is outstanding," PHS assistant Dan Reid said.

Schwind was also third in the triple jump and fifth in the long jump.

The Horns received a top notch effort from freshman pole vaulter Nick Goodman, who took third by clearing a personal best 12 feet. In the 200 meters, Nate Doyle tacked on two team points with a seventh place showing.

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