About 20 teams and more than 1,300 runners, including a Payson High contingent of 12, descended on Flagstaff Saturday, Sept. 1, to showcase their running prowess in the season-opening Peaks Cross Country Invitational.
Competing in a 5K event at Buffalo Park, Lady Longhorn Erin Huffman, only a sophomore ran to a third-place finish in the “Ascent” Division that drew a whopping 116 varsity runners.
Huffman was clocked to 22:27 about one-and-a-half minutes behind event winner Hannah Pavlov of Faith Lutheran. Kingman’s Elizabeth Cardiff was second in 21:12. Lady Longhorn Abby Greenleaf ran well finishing a very respectable 16th in 23:35.
Huffman debuted on the prep sports scene in March at the Payson Freshman-Sophomore Invitational, taking second in the 3200, third in the 1600 and fourth in the 800 meters.
McKyla McCary, one of the stalwarts off last year’s teams took 21st in 23:49 at Peaks.
Also from Payson, McKenzie Mann was 46th in 25:16 and freshman Kara Van Zile 86th in 27:45.
The efforts of the Lady Horn runners propelled Payson High to a fourth-place finish with 148 points.
Scottsdale Chaparral was first (61), Kingman second (87) and Prescott third (104).
In the “Novice” Division at Peaks, PHS freshman Anna Schouten ran 18:22 over a 2.2-mile course to finish third among 60 fledgling runners.
In the boys Novice division, Payson High freshman Alonzo Cohen took 21st in a field of 38 runners. He was timed in 17:07.
Prescott’s Montana Vonier won the Novice race followed by Winslow’s Jasmine Barton.
The cross-country teams return to action tomorrow, Sept. 8, at the Fountain Hills Invitational.