Payson High School track and field team members had the opportunity to showcase their skills in one of the oldest and most prestigious meets in state history during the running of the 71st Chandler Rotary Invitational.
Held March 25-26 at Austin Field in Chandler, the meet drew some of the finest athletes from Arizona, Texas and New Mexico.
Among them was a small-town athlete who has competed often against Payson — Tuba City distance star Billy Orman.
He was named the meet’s outstanding boys track athlete after winning the 1,600 and 3,200 in a meet record 9:07.25.
For Payson, sophomore Morgan Chilson used the meet to stamp herself one of the most promising young sprinters in the state by taking second in the 100-meter dash.
Chilson was clocked in 12.94 — just .07 seconds behind event champion Ebony Randall of Red Mountain.
Also for Payson, Blake Brown tied for second in the high jump clearing 6 feet. With a leap of 6 feet, 2 inches, Chandler’s Michael Shelton was first.
Brown also leaped to a 16th place among 50-plus athletes who entered the long jump. His jump was measured at 19 feet, 2 inches.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Kyle Raeke ran to a seventh place finish in a talent-laden field. He was timed in 16.10. Desert Ridge’s Alex Bevak was first in 15.64.
In the girls high jump, Payson’s Danya Svir cleared 4 feet, 8 inches and tied for fourth place with seven fellow competitors.
Sara Cluff challenged a top-notch group of 800-meter runners and managed to take 16th among the 68 who entered. Cluff was clocked in 2:35.81.
In the girls discus, Lady Longhorn Ally Erickson threw 75 feet, 6 inches and was 17th among 69 competitors.
The track and field team members will not return to action until April 6 when the Chuck Hardt Coed Relay will be held in Payson. Start time is 3 p.m.