The bid to earn a team berth into the state cross country tournament came up short for the Lady Longhorns, but a pair of individual runners — Abby Greenleaf and Erin Huffman — will be advancing to the finals by virtue of the top-25 finishes in the sectional championships.
Competing in the Division III, Section I showdown Oct. 26 at Holbrook Golf Course, the PHS team finished eighth overall with 173 points.
Since only the top one-half of the finishers earn state team berths and with 12 schools competing, the final state seed went to sixth-place Tuba City with its 158 points.
Individually, Greenleaf earned a state ducat by taking 16th in a time of 21:18.51 over the 5K course.
Her effort earned coach Johnathan Ball’s praise, “Her run was very impressive. She picked the biggest moment of the season to have a great race.”
Most impressive about Greenleaf is that she is only a freshman and with three more years to mature, condition and improve, she’s facing a bright, bright future.
Huffman qualified for the state finals by taking 21st in the 66-runner field. She was clocked in 21:51.11.
“Erin has had an incredible season,” Ball said. “She has run tough all year.”
McKenzie Mann (37th; 23:01.44), McKyla McCrary (47th; 23:36.00), Anna Schouten (58th; 24:40.97 and Kara Van Zile (74th; 25:57.01) also represented PHS in the sectional showdown in Holbrook.
Greenleaf and Huffman will now compete in the Division III state championships on Nov. 3 over a 5K course at Cave Creek Golf Course.
The D-III girls are slated to run at 9:15 a.m.
At Fountain Hills
The regular season for the Lady Longhorns runners wrapped up Oct. 20 at the Fountain Hills No. 3 Invitational.
In it, Huffman was ninth (21:04), Greenleaf 14th (21:46), Mann 20th (22:43), Schouten 38th (25:34) and Van Zile 46th (28:43).
Among the boys, Niyal Curri finished 20th (21:39) and Alonzo Cohen 23rd (21:46).