PHS senior Kayla Morgan appears to have turned the corner on an injury that hampered her most of the 2008 track and field season.
After throwing the shot 35 feet, 1 inch as a freshman, she improved to 36 feet, 3 inches as a sophomore.
But last year at the state meet, she fell to seventh with a throw of 32 feet, 10 inches.
Evidence she has fully recovered for her final prep campaign surfaced March 20 at Round Valley where she uncorked an effort of 35 feet, 1 inch that earned her a first-place finish.
“She didn’t throw well last year due to a nagging ankle injury,” said PHS assistant coach Chuck Yale.
In addition to winning the shot, Morgan took the discus competition with a throw of 94 feet, 4 inches.
Although the mark is well short of the 100 foot, 6 inches she threw in 2008 to win the East regional championship, it’s early in the season and Morgan is just rounding into track and field shape after starting for the Lady Longhorn basketball team.
Also at the Round Valley-hosted meet, senior Nick Goodman duplicated last season’s state-winning pole vault effort soaring 13 feet to take first place.
Goodman has been working out at Paradise Valley Community College and says he hopes to clear over 14 feet this season.
Payson’s third and final gold medalist at Round Valley, Maddie Nossek, won both the long jump (15 feet, 11.25 inches) and 400 meters (1:05.28).
She also showcased her versatility by taking third in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and fifth in the 200 meters (28.81).
Nossek, the state champion two years ago in the long jump, has a PR of 17 feet, 1 inch, which she leaped earlier this month in a Queen Creek meet.
Her efforts this season rekindle memories of some of the Lady Horns finest all-around athletes including Nicole Engstrom, Lura Goldman, Stephanie Robertson and Rheanna Martinez.
The efforts of Morgan and Nossek lifted the Lady Longhorns to a second-place finish at RV with 87 points.
Yale considers the silver medal a commendable accomplishment mostly because the Lady Horns traveled to Springerville-Eagar with a depleted squad.
“We only took 13 girls,” he said.
The lack of entrants was because PUSD has been on on spring break the last two weeks.
Cody York, Talia Schaal and the boys 4x400 relay team, garnered second-place honors at Round Valley.
York cleared 6 feet, 4 inches in the high jump; Schaal sped over the 100 hurdles in 16.56 and the relay team toured the 1600 meters in 3:45.59. On the foursome were Shane Crisp, York, Gunner Bauer and Nic Creighton.
Fourth places at RV went to Donovan Swanson (high hurdles, 16.69) and Kyndel Lann (400 meters, 1:01.41).
Fifth places were taken by Holly West (shot put, 31 feet, 6 inches) and the boys 4x800 relay team of Joey Garcia, Forrest Wadington, Crisp and Bauer (9:38.21).
Sixth-place honors went to Iris Molina (800 meters, 2:46.16), and both the boys 4x100 (48:04) and girls 4x100 relay teams (57.48).
On the boys team were Swanson, York, Goodman and Creighton. Kierstin Mock, Katie Welker, Taylor Wood and Lann were on the girls team.
The PHS teams return to action today, March 27, and tomorrow at the Chandler Invitational.