Staying true to his promise of not running on the wrong side of Main Street as he had done the past two years, Carlan Pontious captured the championship of the 2006 Sludge to the Judge homecoming run.
In the event held Sept. 23, Pontious trailed early but turned on the afterburners about 400 meters from the finish to overtake Marcus Whitt and James Schow of Marana Mountain View.
Pontious blazed by both to finish in a course record 12:26. The previous mark of 12:33 was set last year by Payson's Carlos Lopez.
This year, Lopez finished fifth in 12:53.
At the finish line, Lopez said he had been training hard and was a bit disappointed in his time but vowed to continue to train hard in hopes of showing well at region and state meets.
Pontious, who embraced Lopez after the race, said it was his strategy to not take the early lead, choosing instead to use his speed in the final few yards.
"Once I got over the (Main Street) hill and could see the finish, I started my sprint," he said.
Last year, Pontious made a crucial error in running on the south side of Main, rather than the north where the finish line is located. That mistake meant he had to run farther than the other runners and resulted in him finishing a close second to Lopez.
Pontious made the same strategy mistake two years ago, but still managed to emerge victorious.
Also, for the Longhorns in the 2006 race, senior Bryson Addington took 10th in 13:45.
Max Siverson turned in a 12:51 clocking and was 16th.
Isaac Cluff (20th; 15:09), Joe Schloessler (25th; 15:47,), Elden Siverson (27th; 16:07) and Matt Jones (62nd; 20:17) also participated in the event that preceded the annual homecoming parade East on Main.
In the boys competition, Mountain View -- coached by former PHS teacher and coach Dennis Hansen -- was first with 29 points. Holbrook took second, posting 49 points. The Longhorns garnered 52 to take third in the five-team field.
In addition to a boys score, a combined boys and girls score was kept. In that, Payson was again the silver medalist with 106 points. Mountain View (56) claimed the Sludge to the Judge crown, out-dueling runner-up Holbrook (96).
The two PHS teams travel Saturday to Estrella Foothills where they will compete in an invitational.
-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.