The Marco de Niza Padre Invitational in Tempe Sept. 5 is one of the biggest early season meets in the cross country season.
“This is one of two meets that we have scheduled this season in which we will run primarily against 5A schools,” said coach Jonathan Ball.
“We scheduled this meet with the end of the season in mind as it will give us valuable experience running in a big-time meet and at a high level,” he said.
Ball wants his team to learn lessons about how to run in the heat and how to focus adrenaline at the start of a race.
In addition to the host school Payson runners met counterparts from Basha, Canyon del Oro, Casa Grande, Cibola, Hamilton, Highland, Iron Ridge, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Shadow Mountain, Tempe, Westview, Westwood and Wickenburg.
Out of the 17 teams in the varsity girls meet, Payson placed ninth with a team score of 257. Taking top honors was Highland, which put up a 54, followed by host Marcos de Niza with 80.
Lady Horns running for Payson were Lucy Schouten, Liz Luna, Ashley Spear, Madi Flake, Jacquelyn Oesterblad, Lauren Nossek, Iris Molina, Katie Schouten and Nisha Edwin. Running for the boys were Tanner Hodges, Aman Sharma, Michael Scott and Zeke Brooks.
Payson only ran a full varsity girls team. The four freshman girls ran in the JV race and the “rookie” boys ran a JV race also.