Horns' Names Etched Into Record Book


If the clichmemory like an elephant" is valid, Phoenix magazine publisher Barry Sollenberger must be a direct descendant of the pachyderm family.

Consider this: About five years ago during a phone conversation with Sollenberger, he was quizzing me about Payson High School football player Jon Gunzel, who was about to be featured in one of his magazines.

Recognizing the last name Gunzel, Sollenberger wondered whether he was the son of Steve Gunzel, "who threw the discus 186 feet, 2 inches for Tucson Palo Verde in 1969."

Indeed, I replied, Steve is Jon's dad, and he's now the chief ranger for Tonto National Forest in Payson.

Sollenberger barked back, "Did you know Steve also threw the discus 179 feet 2 inches when he was a junior?"

I was amazed at his recall. I'm not even certain Steve remembers those marks, which are both among top-20 records in Arizona.

Sollenberger's talents for keeping meticulous numbers and facts regarding high school accomplishments have led him to publish a host of state books.

His most recent effort is the Arizona High School Track and Field Boys Record Book that includes the years 1912 to 1998.

The book shows that there are several former Payson athletes who remain record-holders.

Bo Althoff's pole vault of 16 feet, 5 3/4" in 1992 is the third best ever recorded. Also in third place is Darren Reid's 1991 triple jump of 48 feet, 8 3/4 inches.

Reid's high jump of 6 feet, 10 1/4 inches in 1990 is the ninth best state mark. Also in ninth, is Mark Hochstettler's 800-meter run of 1:53.30 in 1989.

According to Sollenberger, every performance listed in his book is honored by Track and Field News, the Bible of American track.

The book, priced at $4, will be available at the state track and field championships, which will be held May 14 and15 on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

It will also be available soon in sporting good stores in Phoenix and Tucson.

Go fish
The Northern Arizona University student fishing team of Clifford Pirch and Preston Mercer continue to supplement their college education with prize money.

The pair pocketed $225 after finishing ninth at the AllStar Bass San Carlos Invitational held last weekend. The duo, both Payson High School graduates, boated 13.42 pounds of bass.

For the past couple of years, the two -- alternating with fellow NAU student Max Ryden --have been a fixture on the bass circuit. Sometimes they win, and sometimes they just have a great time.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.