Pitted against some of the state’s finest small-school track and field athletes that entered the Round Valley Dome Invitational, Payson High’s Blake Brown — a state qualifier last year in both the high and long jumps — was looking to make a name for himself with a few solid performances.
Consider the mission accomplished.
The efforts were inked onto the score sheets March 18 in Eagar, where Brown leaped and jumped his way to three medal-winning performances, the most of any PHS athlete who participated in the 13-team meet.
Brown’s finest performance was in the high jump in which he finished second, clearing 5-feet, 10-inches. Although there was a four-way tie for second, Brown was awarded the silver medal on fewer misses.
Round Valley’s Niko Gutierrez won the event with a leap of 6 feet, 3 inches.
Brown also walked away with bronze medals in both the long and triple jumps.
In the long jump he soared 19 feet, 7.75 inches to finish third behind St. Johns’ Lee Konner (20 feet, 9 inches) and Snowflake’s Tyler Johnson (19 feet, 10 inches). Brown leaped 38 feet, 10.75 inches in the triple jump to finish behind Jon Orona of Blue Ridge (39 feet, 9 inches), and Konner (39 feet, 5.25 inches).
Payson’s team point total of 74 was good enough for a fourth-place finish behind Show Low (80), Blue Ridge (100) and meet champ Snowflake (150.30).
Also representing the Longhorns in the meet were Cameron Romance (fifth, 200 meters and seventh, 100 meters), Ian Dillon (sixth, 100 meters), Sam Grassel (12th, 400 meters), Ezra White (third, 800 meters), Tanner Hodges (10th, 1600 meters and 10th, 3200 meters), Dawson Beeson (14th, 1600 meters), Sean Ford (second, shot put and fifth, discus), Tyler Aguirre (ninth; pole vault).
Next on the schedule
The Horns travel today, March 25, to Chandler for the two-day Rotary Invitational.
Local fans will have their first opportunity to see the varsity squads in action on their home track on April 6 at the Chuck Hardt Coed Relays.
The relays, named for a longtime track and cross country coach who has retired, are not the traditional track meet in which boys and girls compete separately. Instead, the coed relay carnival features prep athletes of both sexes competing alongside one another — sometimes running legs in opposite directions.
That creates an almost frenzied, unorganized look for some spectators accustomed to traditionally-run meets. But the unique nature of the contest allows athletes to enter events they might not compete in any other time this season.
For example, there was a mixed 4x100 relay, a mixed distance 4228 (400, 200, 200 and 800 meters) medley, a mixed distance medley and a mixed 4x100 meter shuttle hurdle relay.
Traditionally, no team scores are kept.
Redskin sprinter daunts Lady Horns
St. Johns sprinter Savannah Brown has been a thorn in Payson’s side since her middle school years.
Her dominance didn’t change during the running of the Round Valley Dome Invitational on March 18 in Eagar.
There, Brown legged her way to a first-place finish in the 100-meter dash, nipping Morgan Chilson of Payson by just hundredths of a second. Brown was timed in 13.00 and Chilson in 13.08.
In the 200 meters, Brown was first in 27.54 and Chilson second in 29.22.
Brown’s domination represents an almost instant replay of last season in Eagar where Brown edged Payson’s Maddie Nossek for the gold in the 200 meters by .03 of a second. In the 100 meters last season, Brown ran to a second-place showing and Chilson was sixth.
In 2009, when Brown and Chilson were both eighth-graders, Chilson finished second to Brown in both the 100 and 200 meters during the White Mountain League championships.
Because both Brown and Chilson are sophomores with two more years of track and field eligibility, fans can expect the sprint battles involving the two will continue to heat up the spring sports season.
Chilson’s efforts in Eagar helped propel the Lady Longhorns to an eighth-place finish in the 13-team field.
PHS posted 36.50 points. With 130.50 points, Show Low ran away with the meet championship. Blue Ridge (93) was second and St. Johns (83) third.
Also representing the Lady Longhorns in the Round Valley High-hosted meet were Sarah Cluff (ninth, 800 meters), Bethany Sprinkle (sixth, 400 meters), Kalen Shone (15th, 400 meters), Logan Conway (13th, 1600 meters), Ashley Spear (11th, 3200 meters), Danya Svir (10th, high jump), Janelle Hauptman (sixth, pole vault and 11th, long jump) Ally Erickson (seventh, discus), Carol Case (sixth, shot put).
The Lady Horns did not score team points in the hurdles or triple jump possibly because the school district is in spring recess and many student athletes are out of town.
Select members of the track team will travel today, March 25, to the prestigious Chandler Rotary Invitational. The meet wraps up tomorrow, Saturday.