Almost every time Payson High School senior Maddie Nossek competes, she etches her name into the prep track and field record books.
Such was the scenario April 21 at the Lupe Acevedo Relay at Blue Ridge High School in Lakeside, where Nossek set a personal record in the high jump of 5 feet, 6.25 inches.
The mark is also a school record, the best in Arizona this season and ranks 30th in the nation.
Following the leap, coach Jonathan Ball lauded Nossek’s work ethic saying, “The record was earned during the off season, which was incredible.
“She worked so hard with speed and strength training to come back this season a much stronger athlete.”
Excelling in the high jump wasn’t her only meet accomplishment.
She also finished second in the long jump (15 feet, 11.5 inches), third in shot put (31 feet, 4.75 inches) and anchored the gold medal winning 4x200 relay team that Ball is calling a “dream team.”
The foursome included standout sprinter Morgan Chilson and the veteran Nossek running on the same relay team for the first time. Katie Welker and Laura Aaltanon rounded out the squad that easily won the event in 1:51.43, about three seconds quicker than runner-up Round Valley.
Lauren Nossek, not to be outdone by her older sister, turned in some heroics of her own, helping the 4x800 relay team bring home the gold.
Liz Harpe and Sarah Cluff propelled the team off to a good start, Lauren Nossek maintained the lead during the third leg and Lucy Schouten anchored, successfully holding off Blue Ridge’s hard-charging final runner.
Also at BRHS, the Lady Horns’ cause received twin boosts from senior Holly West in the field events.
In the discus, West won with a throw of 84 feet, 8 inches. Her toss of 33 feet, 1.25 inches in the shot put was easily best among the 20 entrants.
“Our throwing events are easily the strength of the team,” Ball said. “They really carry us in a meet like this.”
As a team, the Lady Horns finished second in the eight-team field, posting 56 points. With 65, host Blue Ridge claimed the team title.
Ball believes the meet results prove how competitive the East region now is.
“Any one of four teams could win the regional championship and any one of four teams could finish fourth,” he said.
In the boys’ competition, the Horns racked up 42 points to finish fourth. With 92 points, powerful Snowflake was first.
For Payson, junior Blake Brown shouldered the load, finishing fourth in the high jump (5 feet, 6 inches), fifth in the long jump (17 feet, 7.75 inches), ninth in the triple jump (34 feet, 10.5 inches) and running a leg on the second-place finishing 110-meter shuttle hurdle relay team (1:08.76).
The track teams return to action April 30 at the Winslow Invitational.
The 3A East regional championships are set for May 7 and 8 in Show Low, and the state meet will be May 13 to 15 at Arizona State University.