A strong all-around performance from senior Blake Brown in the jump events lifted the Longhorn track team to a third-place finish among the eight teams participating in the Fountain Hills Veterans Memorial Invitational.
The Horns racked up 113 points during the April 9 meet, trailing only runner-up Wickenburg (124) and meet champ Florence (167).
Brown’s finest performance was in the high jump, an event he won by leaping 6 feet.
His closest competition came from his own teammates. Robert Nielson was second at 5 feet, 10 inches and Logan Morris cleared 5 feet, 8 inches to take third.
Brown also shined in the triple jump, finishing second with a mark of 37 feet, 4 inches.
In the long jump, Brown earned fourth-place points (five) for the Horn team cause, leaping 17 feet, 4 inches.
“Blake was impressive. He scored a total of 23 (team) points in only three events,” said coach Jonathan Ball.
Also drawing the coach’s praise was Nielson who, in addition to his silvermedal finish in the high jump, was fifth in the 300 meter hurdles and sixth in the triple jump.
“He has come a long way from last year as he scored 19 points in the meet,” said Ball.
The Longhorn team effort also received a boost from a strong performance in the pole vault with three PHS athletes finishing among the top four.
Shannon Austin led the way, clearing 11 feet 6 inches, which tied Fountain Hills’ Keifer Burke for first place.
David Linkey and Levi Sopeland dead knotted for third with Estrella Foothill’s J.C. Soto. All three vaulted 11 feet.
Payson’s 4x800 relay team of Isom White, Jamie Wadington, Dawson Beeson and Sam Grassel sped their way to a second-place finish behind a Paradise Valley foursome. The Horns were timed in 8:51.86 and the PC team in 8:49.58.
Grassel was also fourth in the 800 meters and Wadington was eighth.
In the 1600 meters, Payson’s Ezra White was impressive, finishing second only .35 of a second behind Wickenburg’s Criston Hyett. White was timed in a personal record of 4:54.81 and Hyett in 4:54.46.
“With a little more experience running that event, Ezra will get much better,” said Ball. “He had a lot of energy left over.”
The Longhorns return to action today, April 15, at the Blue Ridge Invitational in Lakeside. Field events tip off at noon.