Runners Pave The Way To State Tournament

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Editor's note: This story should have run in the Tuesday edition but was unintentionally left out.

Carlan Pontious and four members of the track team throws contingent led the Longhorns to their second successive Class 3A East region championship.

In the postseason shoot-out held May 4 and 5 at Snowflake High School, the Horns amassed 179 points, to easily outdistance host Snowflake for the region title.

Blue Ridge was third, with 131 points and Show Low took fourth, by posting 70 points.

Pontious paved the way to the state title, winning the 800 meters (2:05.10), 1600 meters (4:41.91), finishing third in the 3200 meters (10:5.81) and running a leg on the gold medal winning 4x800 relay team (8:46.93).

On the relay foursome with Pontious were Carlos Lopez, Josh Lymer and Jourdain Wood.

PHS assistant coach Chuck Yale said that Pontious could probably have won the 3200 meters as well as the other events, but the team strategy was to not push him to his limits.

In the scoring, Pontious had a hand in accounting for 36 of Payson's 131 team points.

While Pontious was shining in the distance runs and the relay, the Horns throws unit was earning big time team points of their own.

In the shot put, the Horns placed first, second, fourth and sixth.

In the discus, Payson was first second and seventh.

Morgan Cassuto took the shot put gold with a heave of (51 feet, 0.25-inch). Sophomore Matt Wilson finished second (45 feet, 2.75 inches), Scott Andrus was fourth (42 feet, 6.75 inches) and David Hill claimed sixth (41 feet, 4 inches).

Senior Nick Ford threw to a first-place showing in the discus with a mark of 142-feet, 8-inches. Cassuto was second (139-feet, 6-inches) and Hill claimed seventh (128-feet, 4-inches).

The top four finishers in each of the events earned an automatic seed into the state track and field finals, which will be held May 11, and 12 at Chandler High School.

The Horns enter the state showdown as defending champs and one of the favorites to claim the 2007 title.

Yale is optimistic the Horns can repeat. "We have a shot," he said.

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