Carlan Pontious will advance to the Class 3A state cross country championships as the East region standard bearer.
The lanky senior speedster won the region crown Oct. 27 at the East finals held in Show Low.
In addition to taking first place in the field of 42 qualifiers, Pontious was named the meet's Most Valuable Runner.
With gold medal in hand, Pontious now travels Nov. 4 to Cave Creek Golf Course where the season wraps up with the state championship meet.
In addition to earning the region championship this season, Pontious won the Sludge to the Judge homecoming run, was second at the Winslow Invitational and fifth at the Sue Fletcher Invitational in Sierra Vista.
Last spring, he paced the Longhorns to the 3A state championship. In the course of the two-day meet, he was second in the 1600, fifth in the 800, seventh in the 3200 meters and a member of the gold medal winning 4x800 relay team.
Pontious will be accompanied to the state cross country championships by his teammates because the Longhorns earned a state team berth by virtue of an East region fourth place finish.
The top four teams in each of the 3A conference's four regions receive automatic berths to state.
Holbrook captured the region championship with a meet low of 52 points. Alchesay (60) was second, Blue Ridge (65) third and Payson (74) fourth.
Show Low (136) and Snowflake (141) did not qualify.
Individually for Payson, Carlos Lopez was fourth in 17:16. Bryson Addington turned in a 19:14 clocking to take 18th.
Also representing the Longhorns were Max Siverson (21st; 19:26), Elden Siverson (30th; 20:51), Isaac Cluff (21:11) and Noah Sweet (38th; 22:56).