A Payson High School teacher and a member of the graduating class of 2007 ran their way to top honors at the Turkey Trot 5K.
In the annual town-sponsored event held Nov. 18 at Green Valley Park, Carlan Pontious claimed the men's championship in 17:31.
Cindy Pool won the women's title in 20:47.
Pontious has been a member of the Longhorn cross country team the past four seasons and Pool, who teaches chemistry at PHS, is an accomplished cyclist and marathon runner.
Pool was competing in the 40-49 age group and Pontious in the 13-19-years division.
Pontious took the lead early in the race and then ran away from the pack.
"I broke out after about a half mile. It felt good. It was a fun race," he said.
The senior running star also said his successes on the high school circuit and in 5K and 10K runs have fueled a desire to take his talents to the next level.
"After I graduate, I'd like to run in college," he said. "Maybe at MCC (Mesa Community College)."
Age group winners among the men included Tom Cooka (70-plus), Mark Smith (60-69), Jim Hershberger (50-59), Scott Grassel (40-49), Jason Cress (30-39), Jerry Baker (20-29), and Payson Bobier (12 and under).
Age group winners among the women included Caroline Beeler (70-plus), Judy Claerhout (60-69), Kathy Tusitson (50-59), Kira Peters (40-49), Cassandra Stouder (20-29), Lucy Schouten (13-19) and Julie Gibson (12 and under).
Town of Payson Recreation coordinator Mary McMullen called the event a complete success, saying most who entered received a healthy dose of morning exercise in a fun atmosphere.