Phs Cross Country Team Features New Coach And Players

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The Longhorn cross country team featured an entirely new look when it opened the season Tuesday at Hopi High School.

Gone was former coach Chuck Hardt who had been the only coach in the history of the program at PHS.

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Second-year cross country team member David Knauer led the Longhorn charge at a season opening meet held at Hopi High School, finishing 77th in 21:47.

Also the familiar faces of last year's standouts Carlan Pontious and Carlos Lopez were nowhere to be seen.

The two runners graduated last spring with the Class of 2007 and Hardt hung up his whistle after decades of coaching cross country, basketball, track and field and football.

Ian Harvey, an enthusiastic coach who has his roots in Show Low, replaced Hardt at the helm of the program.

However, few runners showed up for the first few days of practice.

So, Harvey and veteran assistant Chuck Yale scoured the campus searching for runners to fill the roster void.

With a minimum of five runners finally in the fold, the Horns debuted at Hopi with a 17th-place finish in the 25-team field that featured some of the finest cross country teams in the state.

The only Payson representative with varsity running experience was David Knauer, who led the Longhorn charge, finishing 77th in 21:47.

The meet champ, Lance Williams of Tuba City, was clocked in 16:58.

Payson's Jim Behrens, Forrest Wadington, Matt Phillips were all making their varsity debuts.

Behrens was 82nd (22:38), Wadington 96th (25:53), Phillips, 99th (28:13).

Next up for the Longhorns is the Payson Invitational Sept. 5.

Previously the meet was held at Payson Golf Course but Harvey has moved it to Rumsey Park.

Mingus, Coconino, Sinagua and Snowflake are scheduled to participate. Varsity races will be run at noon and 12:30 and junior varsity clashes at 11 and 11:30.

However, if the field of junior varsity runners is small, the times may be moved up, Yale said.

The team travels Sept. 7 to Sierra Vista and will compete Sept. 15 in the prestigious Four Corners meet in Flagstaff.

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