Without talented, veteran runners to buoy the team, the Longhorn cross-country squads struggled through an annual showdown in which PHS has traditionally shown well.
In the Sludge to the Judge homecoming run, held Sept. 28 on Main Street, the boys team did not receive a team score, because it did not field the mandatory minimum of five runners.
The boys championship was won by Blue Ridge, who had six runners finish among the top seven. Agua Fria was second and Holbrook third.
The girl's team fared better than its male counterparts, finishing second to meet champion Holbrook. Agua Fria was third.
In the overall scoring which combines the boys and girls scoring with a traveling trophy as the prize, Payson was not eligible, due to the absence of a boys team.
Holbrook claimed the trophy with 237 points. With 273 points, Agua Fria was second.
With Holbrook's win, the Roadrunners will take possession of the trophy now being held by 2006 Sludge to the Judge champion Mountain View. The Tucson-area team, coached by former PHS teacher Dennis Hansen, did not return to Payson to defend its team title.
In the battle for individual honors, Blue Ridge Jamal Sanchez was first in 13:46.
The mark was far off the course record of 12:26 set last year by Payson's Carlan Pontious.
In fact, the 2007 run was overall much slower overall than last year when Payson's Carlos Lopez turned in a sizzling ET of 12:53, but had to settle for fifth.
Also in 2006, Longhorn Bryson Addington turned in a time of 13:45, which would have been good enough for first this year, but was only 10th.
Payson's best effort in 2007 came from David Knauer who was 19th in 15:46. Knauer is the lone team member who participated in the sports in 2006.
Only three seconds behind him was teammate Jimmy Behrens.
In the girls competition, PHS senior Lana Cluff was fourth, 27th overall in the combined boys and girls field, in 17:17.
Sophomore teammate Lucy Schouten was only steps behind touring the about 2-mile course in 17:18.
Also representing the Lady Longhorns were Jacquelyn Oesterbald (41st; 20:39), Rachel Ward (47th; 21:48) Nicole Scott (50th; 22:48) and Keisha Waterman (52nd; 25:11).
Immediately following the annual cross-country run, the homecoming parade began at Julia Randall Elementary School and traveled down Main Street before culminating near the PHS campus.
Fans who had gathered at the finish line for the Sludge to the Judge remained there for the parade.
In the parade were the homecoming royalty, including Courtney Morris and B.J. Hill, who were crowned king and queen later that evening during halftime ceremonies at the football game.