Chuck Hardt, a longtime cross country and track and field coach, is humbled that in retirement the former Payson Coed Relays have been renamed in his honor the “Chuck Hardt Coed Relay Festival.”
But he was caught off guard last week when a PHS track team member approached to ask, “Are you going to be the starter at the Chuck Hardt Memorial?”
“I had to think twice how to answer that,” Hardt said.
The meet obviously wasn’t a memorial and there were a few glitches, such as a lack of electricity and cold, windy weather to overcome, but the Carnival went on April 6 on PHS track as scheduled.
While no team scores were kept, Payson team members performed quite well against visiting Sedona and Blue Ridge, winning several of the relays including the 4x100, 1-2-3-4, 4x200 and 4x100 girls.
The Longhorns also dominated the 200 open, taking the top three slots. Payson Bobier was first (24.84), Sid Pearce second (25.23) and Michael Anderson third (25.37).
In the 800 girls open event, Payson again took the top three spots with Logan Conway edging Bailey Patterson at the tape. Conway was clocked in 2:51.63 and Patterson was second in 2:51.86.
Ashley Spear competed the sweep, taking third in 2:56.43.
In the boys open 800, the Longhorns flexed their muscles running to the top two spots with Dawson Beeson finishing first in 2:21.32.
With a clocking of 2:23.91, Cameron Romance was second.
Beeson also won the 1600 open legging out the four laps in 5:12.
In the long jump, Payson’s Janelle Hauptmann was best among the girls at 14 feet, 10 inches and Longhorn Blake Brown leaped 20 feet, 6 inches to nip Blue Ridge’s John Vrona by a half-foot.
Former Longhorn great Bo Althoff oversaw the pole vault event. Althoff is the school record holder and is remembered as the Longhorns’ finest-ever vaulter.
Among the boys, Althoff saw one of his charges, Tyler Aguirre, win with a mark of 9 feet, 6 inches.
Among the girls, Lady Longhorns Jaymi Carlen and Janelle Hauptmann tied for third, both clearing 7 feet, 6 inches.
The only meet record set during the frigid, blustery day was the 1:04.03 run by Sedona in the shuttle hurdles relay.
Next up, the two PHS track teams travel April 15 to Lakeside to compete in the Blue Ridge Invitational.
Also on the schedule, believe it or not, is the Payson/New York open set for April 20 on PHS track.
The unusual meet came about after PHS assistant coach Chuck Yale, who retired to Payson after a long and successful teaching and coaching career in New York state, invited his former school to the Rim Country.
The invitation was accepted and the East coast team will travel across the country to lock horns with the Longhorns.