The Lady Longhorn track and field team wrapped up the regular season May 6 at the Snowflake Last Chance Invitational and will this week prepare for the Division III championships to be held May 13 and 14 at Mesa Community College.
At Snowflake, the Lady Horns turned in a commendable team performance finishing fifth in the 18-team field that included schools from the former 1A to 4A ranks. Blue Ridge won the Last Chance title racking up 102 points. Payson finished with 69.33 points.
Individually, sophomore Morgan Chilson, who won the 100 meters in 12.96, led PHS. In winning, she defeated for only the second time, longtime nemesis Savannah Brown of St. Johns. Brown finished second in 13.06.
However, in the 200 meters, Brown rebounded to edge Chilson by the narrowest of margins. Brown was first in 27.04 and Chilson second in 27.08.
Chilson was also a member of the 4x100 relay team that finished second to Snowflake.
On the team with Chilson were Janelle Hauptmann, Jaymi Carlen and Katelyn Cordell.
In the 300-meter hurdles, Cordell ran 51.52 and was third in a field of 23 entrants.
In the pole vault, Hauptmann soared 8 feet, 9 inches to tie for third with two Round Valley vaulters.
Payson’s Lydia Galster shined in the 800 meters, finishing second to Show Low’s Chastine Virgin.
Galster was clocked in 2:30.03 and Virgin in 2:29.06.
Bailey Patterson chipped in to the team effort by finishing sixth in the triple jump, with leaps that totaled 29 feet, 5 inches. She was also fifth in a huge 38-runner 400 meters field with an ET of 1:02.90.
The upcoming Division III championships, the first ever held, will be a unique experience for Lady Horn qualifiers because they will face some teams they never competed against in the now-defunct 3A conference.
Some of those teams also represent so-called “big schools” that last year were members of the 4A conference.
They include Flagstaff, Tucson Sabino, Tempe, Coconino, Higley, Tucson Santa Rita, Seton Catholic and others.
At the onset of this year, an AIA mandated realignment replaced the former conference-region format with division-section configuration.