The girls 100-meter 13-second barrier can be tough to beat as evidenced by the very few high school athletes who eclipse the magical mark each season.
But that wasn’t the case for three speedsters April 20 at Eastern Arizona Rotary Invitational in Safford.
There, Lady Horn Morgan Chilson bested a field of 31 sprinters, setting a personal best mark of 12.77.
Runner-up Jessica Copper of Coolidge also was under 13 seconds at 12.90.
St. Johns’ Savannah Brown, a nemesis of Chilson’s for the past three seasons, was third in 12.98.
Chilson’s time renders her a solid contender for the state 100-meter championship when the Division III finals are held May 11 and 12 at Mesa Community College.
Chilson’s efforts also helped propel the Lady Longhorns to a second-place finish among the 12 teams that competed in the invitational. Safford — a perennial track and field powerhouse for decades — ran away with the crown, racking up an impressive 155.5 points. With 89, Payson claimed the silver and St. Johns took third with 70 points.
In addition to Chilson’s standout effort, the Lady Horn cause received a boost from Natalie Moceri, who was first in the 3200 meters and second in the 1600.
Her 3200 time of 12:46.3 was about 12 seconds faster than runner-up Denesha Rodriquez of Globe.
In the 1600, she was clocked in 5:57.59 — about five seconds slower than event champion Davette Susan of Alchesay. In the 4x800 relay, the Lady Horn foursome of Lydia Galster, Mckyla McCrary, Harley Turney and Sarah Cluff was second in 10:41.23
Galster also was second in the 800 meters, touring the two laps in 2:32.92 — about one second off the winning pace of Globe’s Rodriquez.
Jaymi Carlen medaled in the triple jump, finishing fourth with a leap of 32 feet, 4 inches.
Bailey Patterson ran to fourth in the 400 meters in 1:05.77 and teamed with Chilson, Carlen and Janelle Hauptman to finish fifth in a hotly contested 4x100 relay that drew 13 teams. The foursome was timed in 54.50.
The Longhorn boys at Safford posted 54 points to finish sixth among 17 teams.
Keith Williams earned Payson’s only gold medal, clearing 14 feet in the pole vault.
His coach, Bo Althoff, the school record holder in the event, is predicting Williams will soar as much as a foot higher before the season winds down.
Williams’ toughest competition at Safford was supplied by teammate Levi Sopeland who was second at 13 feet, 6 inches.
Kyle Raeke ran to third in the 110-meter hurdles (15.87) and was fourth in the 300-meter hurdles. (41.80).
San Manuel’s Wayne Newman, who could be clutching a pair of gold medals when the state hurdle events wrap up at MCC, won both events easily.
Also for the Horns, Richard Nielson was fourth in the high jump (5 feet, 10 inches) and Michael Scott fifth in the long jump (19 feet, 11 inches).
The two track teams return to action May 4 at the Last Chance Qualifier in Snowflake.
The meet is just what it is titled — the final opportunity entrants have to earn automatic qualifying bids to state by posting certain minimum standards.