Forrest Wadington is drawing praise from cross country coach Johnathan Ball as a runner capable of leading the Longhorns into the rarefied atmosphere of the postseason promised land.
Following the Sept. 24 Snowflake Invitational, Ball said, “We found a front runner, he ran his first race of the year and took fifth place overall.”
The coach continued to laud the teen saying he turned in an intelligent effort in With Wadington and Tanner Hodges, who was 18th at Snowflake, in the lineup, the Longhorns have a one-two punch for the first time this season.
The two runners helped the team earn an overall fifth-place finish in the Lobo Invitational.
Wadington toured the 5K course in 18:27 and Hodges was clocked in 19:26.
Also representing the Longhorns in Lobo land were Michael Scott (19th; 19:31), Jamie Wadington (33rd; 20:33) and Aman Sharma (21:13).
The five varsity runners give the Horns an opportunity to receive a team score. Most of last season the team didn’t have the minimum number of runners needed (five) to qualify for a score.
In open boys action at Snowflake, Paul Utz (fifth; 22:01) and Zeke Brooks (sixth; 22:12) represented Payson.
Just three days after battling in Snowflake, the Horns turned in a sixth-place finish at the Blue Ridge Invitational with Wadington and Hodges again leading the way.
Wadington took 11th in 18:46 and Hodges ran a 20:11 to finish 31st.
Scott was 34th (20:11), Sharma ran to 44th (21:03) and Jamie Wadington took 47th (21:09).
Utz was 13th among the junior varsity runners. Brooks was clocked in an identical 20:04 but was awarded 14th place.
The Longhorns return to action Oct. 9 at the Whiteriver Fairgrounds for the Alchesay Invitational.