Coach Says Payson High Track Team Progressing

Longhorns host Co-Ed Relays on Wednesday

Payson’s top distance runner for the boys this season has been sophomore Gerardo Moceri. Moceri won the 3,200 in 11:05.67. He ran 10:39.68 the previous week at Chandler.

Payson’s top distance runner for the boys this season has been sophomore Gerardo Moceri. Moceri won the 3,200 in 11:05.67. He ran 10:39.68 the previous week at Chandler. Photo by Keith Morris. |

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Although they compete for the same school, Payson High’s boys and girls track and field teams are really just that, separate teams.

But they’ll join forces for the Payson Co-Ed Relays at 2 p.m. Wednesday in what Longhorns coach Jonathan Ball calls “a real fun meet.”

One of the most entertaining parts of the meet is watching the baton exchanges in the relay races, which start with a girl, who hands off to a boy, who hands off to a girl, who hands off to a boy. Since they don’t usually practice this together, it can be quite eventful.

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Sophomore Abby Greenleaf has been the top distance runner for the girls this season. Greenleaf ran a personal-record 5:55.26 to win the 1,600 meter run at Safford on March 26.

We’re still more than a month away from the May 9-10 Division 3 state meet at Mesa Community College and the next several weeks should offer lots of action as PHS athletes try to qualify, then prepare for the meet.

The Longhorns got a taste of the state meet schedule at the Chandler Rotary Meet on March 21-22, which was featured on Friday-Saturday morning and then an elite meet on Saturday night.

“We were using the Chandler meet as prep for state,” Ball said. “We’re trying to get kids to run hard both days because that’s what they’ll have to do at state. You can’t simulate the heat of the state meet, but you can simulate running hard on back-to-back days.”

In Friday’s Rotary Meet, Wyatt Chapman placed second in the 200 meters in 22.93. He was also 14th in the 100 in the elite meet in 11.23. “I really like what he did Saturday night in the elite race,” Ball said. “He didn’t get off to a great start but he didn’t back down.”

Trevor Clawson was fifth in the 400 in a PR 51.83 in the Friday meet, breaking 52 seconds for the first time.

Gerardo Moceri placed second (25th overall) in the second of five heats in the 3,200 in 10:39.68, which was held Saturday afternoon. “He didn’t want to run in the two-mile going into the season because he wanted to focus on the 1,600,” Ball said. “Now he wants lots of them. It’s the competitive nature I’ve seen in him. He’s learned how to run the two-mile.”

Danya Svir placed sixth in the elite high jump by clearing 5 feet. “She had a chance to clear 5-2, which would have been third,” Ball said. “That was the difference from being on the podium and not.”

Abby Greenleaf finished 28th in the 1,600 on Saturday morning in a PR 5:56.69.

Chloe Obrecht ran a PR 1:09.98 in the 400 on Friday. “We’re looking for some 400 runners to step up,” Ball said.

SAFFORD MEET

PHS then competed in the Safford Tri-County Meet on Wednesday, March 26. Payson finished second to Safford in both the boys (173.5-156) and girls (184.5-92) meets.

“We had some real good performances,” Ball said.

Chapman won three events — the 100 (12.42), 200 (23.52) and long jump (20-6.5).

Among the other strong showings was Brian Skinner’s 26-point effort. The sophomore notched his first varsity victory by winning the 110 hurdles in 16.77. He also finished second to teammate Jesse Barry (6-2 to 6-0) in the high jump and second in the triple jump (40-1).

Clawson won the 800 (2:07.71). Moceri won the 3,200 (11:05.67).

“We looked real dominant,” Ball said. “Safford won and they had more depth, but we dominated.”

In the girls meet, Greenleaf won the 1,600 in a PR 5:55.26 and Emily Lofano-Masse, Rachel Knauer, Jessie Cline and Svir combined to win the 4x100 in 54.33.

“They worked on their handoffs and it paid off,” Ball said of the 400 relay.

Ball said the team is making a lot of progress.

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