Maddie Nossek’s four medals lifted the Lady Longhorns to a fourth-place finish among the 22 teams that qualified for the Class 3A Arizona State Track and Field Championships.
In the meet, contested May 15 and 16 at Mesa High School, Payson tallied 63 team points to trail only meet champion Blue Ridge (102), runner-up Estrella Foothills (96) and bronze medalist Sedona Red Rock (64.5).
Nossek won the high jump, was third in both the 400 meters and long jump and was fifth in the 200 meters.
In the high jump, she cleared the bar at 5 feet, 1 inch to edge silver medalist Jan Johnson of Snowflake who leaped 5 feet.
In the 400 meter run, Nossek — who qualified for state as the East region event champion — turned on the afterburners to take the bronze in 1:00.52.
The time was slightly off the 1:00.42 she turned in while winning the East title. Empire’s Allie Haskell won the state championship in 58.41.
In the long jump, Nossek’s leap of 16 feet, 1 inch was short of her PR of 17 feet, .25 inches, but earned the Lady Horns six team points.
Safford’s Ciera Huston qualified for state with a jump of 15 feet, 10 inches, but improved to 16 feet, 8 inches to win the 3A gold.
Nossek found herself pitted against a trio of Estrella Foothills speedsters in the 200 meters.
The EF sprinters swept the first three spots and Alchesay’s Marie Lupe — a thorn in the Horns’ side the past several basketball seasons — was fourth. Nossek ran to fifth in 27.24. The Payson star won the East title last week in 27.22. Estrella Jasmine Pratt took the state title in 25.53.
In addition to Lady Horns receiving a boost from Nossek, senior Kayla Morgan contributed first-place points in the shot put and fourth tallies in the discus.
She won the shot with a heave of 35 feet, 8.75 inches that was about 9 inches longer than the throw she unleashed in the East region meet.
Her closest competition in the event came from teammate Jenna Robertson, who finished second at 35 feet, 3.25 inches.
The two have battled one another all season long, and in the East championships, tied for first place. Robertson received the region gold and Morgan fell to second on a tiebreaker of best second throw.
In the state discus, Morgan — the East region champion with a throw of 109 feet, 1 inch — uncorked a toss of 101 feet, 10 inches to take fourth.
Safford’s Annette Hopkins won at 104 feet, 11 inches.
Robertson, a senior three-sport star who was competing for the final time in her prep career, added a fourth-place finish in the long jump to her shot put silver medal.
Her jump was measured at 15 feet, 7.25 inches.
The 4x400 relay added valuable team points to the PHS scorecard with a sixth-place showing. Turning in a 4:17.76 clocking was the foursome of Kyndel Lann, Nikkie DeWees, Kierstin Mock and Katie Welker.
Welker, Lann and DeWees added Robertson to their team to finish seventh in the 4x100 relay.
In the 4x800 relay, the team of Sarah Cluff, Iris Molina, Lauren Nossek and Jacquelyn Oesterblad was eighth in 10:50.16.
Although the state meet marked the end of the 2009 campaign, the team gathered last evening, May 18, at Green Valley Park for a cookout sponsored by the Friends And Neighbors (FAN) club. Payson’s first-place finishers could be invited later this week to participate in the Meet of Champions, which pits the top finishers from all schools, size classifications, 1A-5A, against one another.