1998 In Sports

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JANUARY
• 6 -- Amberlyn White, one of the most heralded athletes to don a Lady Longhorn uniform, has been named an Arizona Coaches Association All-Star volleyball player.

  • 10 -- At the Bolsa Grande Classic Varsity Wrestling Tournament in Garden Grove, Calif., the Payson High School matmen battle their way to 10 individual gold medals and the tournament title.
  • 13 -- Twin weekend Central Division wins over Fountain Hills (90-58) and Coolidge (57-39) push the Rim ladies' overall record to 13-4, and more importantly to 5-0 in the overall division standings.
  • 20 -- In a showdown of the two top-ranked teams in Class 3A Arizona prep wrestling circles, the Payson Longhorns upset number one Eloy Santa Cruz, 45-26.
  • 23 -- The Longhorn boys basketball team pulls off the upset of the Class 3A prep season in Coolidge, edging past the unbeaten Bears 66-64. The Lady Longhorns pull off a win of their own against Coolidge, thumping the Bears 87-63.
  • 30 -- It takes two of the best Class 5A wrestling teams in the state to finally put an end to the Payson Longhorns' winning ways. The Horns met their match in the form of Mesa Red Mountain and Gilbert Highland.

FEBRUARY
• 3 -- One of the most successful regular seasons in the 28-year history of girls' basketball at Payson High School wraps up with a 76-46 Lady Longhorn victory over Fountain Hills.

  • 6 -- In front of one of the largest crowds to ever fill the Wilson dome, the Longhorn boys' basketball team pulls off its second major upset of the season, handcuffing highly regarded Arizona Boys Ranch 72-55.
  • 14 -- Another epic chapter is etched in the rich and storied 25-year history of the Payson High School wrestling program when the Longhorns win their third consecutive state championship.
  • 27 -- The Tonto Apache Tribe earns placement in the Rim country's sports history book this week as the first Native American reservation to enter a club team in a sanctioned USA Track and Field event.
  • 28 -- Four Longhorn basketball players are awarded post-season honors in a voting of Central Division coaches. They are Hunter Walden (first team), Jeremiah Lorentz (second team), Josh McRae (honorable mention) and Jeremy Hoff (honorable mention).


MARCH
• 6 -- The Payson Longhorn golf team settles into its new home at Chaparral Pines.

  • 10 -- The fabled wrestling legacy of the Payson Longhorns continues to swell with pride with the selection of three local seniors -- Christopher Pirch, Jeff LaMott and Jay Wagoner -- to both the Arizona All-State and the Coaches' Associations all-star teams.
  • 10 -- After handily winning the Central division basketball championship with a 13-0 record, the Lady Horns dominate selections to the 10-member Central First Team. The four Lady Horns chosen are Amberlyn White, Stephanie Robertson, Erin Dahlman and Molly Hunt.
  • 14 -- The fledgling Tonto Apache track and field team, in only its third competition ever, takes first place at the USA amateur meet at McClintock High School in Tempe.
  • 25 -- The Payson High School golfers initiate their new home course at Chaparral Pines with a big win over Show Low and Winslow.


APRIL
• 3 -- The lingering effects of El Niave taken its toll on Longhorn spring sports teams. With a 3-8 record overall, and a 0-2 mark in the Central Division, the PHS baseball team isn't able to squeeze in crucial outdoor practice time. Down south, the Chandler Rotary Invitational track and field meet is canceled due to inclement weather.

  • 6 -- Longhorn baseball resembles Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde in crucial Central Division games this week. In Cave Creek, the Horns are infallible, blasting seven home runs in a stirring 15-12 victory over Fountain Hills. The next day, however, the Horns are all thumbs leading to a 12-4 loss to the Coolidge Bears.
  • 17 -- The Longhorn baseball team puts together one of its best all-around games of the campaign, thumping state third-ranked and Central Division leader Globe, 6-4.
  • 17-18 -- In their most impressive showing of the season, the Payson High School golf team swings its way to a bronze-medal finish at the 10-team Camp Verde Invitational.
  • 18 -- The Tonto Apaches continue success with their track and field team by setting a new state record for most points scored in a single meet.
  • 20 -- Payson runner Gary Kutscher competes in the Boston Marathon. The 38-year-old finished the race with a personal best record of 3:07:11.
  • 24 -- Payson High School baseball players Hunter Walden and Bryan Zumbro continue their neck-and-neck race to set a new record for home runs. After a game in Show Low, Walden is at 12, and Zumbro leads with 13, long since breaking the previous record of 10 set by Bob Halenar in 1981.
  • 26 -- Dark horse Cameron Maebe, 17, wins first-place in the Mayor's Cup Mountain Bike Race.


MAY
• 8 -- The Longhorn baseball team falls short of its goal of a season championship, falling to top-ranked Chino Valley 2-0. On the brighter side, at least six team records and five individual standards were equaled or exceeded by the Payson team.

  • 8-9 -- The Payson High School golf team swings its way to a fourth-place finish at the Arizona State Class 3A tournament on the Municipal Golf Course in Needles, Calif.
  • 13 -- Lady Longhorn senior infielder Molly Hunt is the only Payson softball player named to the All Central Division First Team in a voting of prep coaches. Lindsay Heath and Sidney Swartwood are named to the second squad, while Sarah Ortlund and Jadie Plummer are tapped honorable mentions.
  • 15 -- For the first time in the 40-year history of the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star games, a celestial contact will be played in Payson. The annual Blue vs. Red ACA All-Star wrestling tournament is scheduled for June 6 at the Wilson dome.
  • 22 -- Longhorn Bryan Zumbro -- the team's leading hitter this season -- is overlooked in the voting of players to the All Central Division First Team. "It's a joke," says baseball coach Teddy Pettet. "What kind of a season does someone have to have (to be on first team)?"
  • 22 -- In its best all-around showing in over 20 years of invitations to the Luke Greenway Meet of Champions, the Lady Longhorns track and field team ran away with eight top 10 finishes.
  • 27 -- Payson High School basketball coach Jim Quinlan unexpectedly resigns his position after heading the program for nine years. Physical Education teacher Randy Wilcox is later tapped as Quinlan's replacement.


JUNE
• 5-6 -- Payson's Stephanie Robertson celebrates her new national number-two heptathalon ranking by easily winning the Arizona State Junior Olympics competition with 4,356 points.

  • 12 -- Junior Tinnin wraps up his four-year baseball career in the grandest of ways -- as the starting rightfielder for the North team in the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star Game at Grand Canyon University.
  • 22 -- Two of the hottest young golfers on the PGA Junior Tour are Payson tikes. Billy Bob Hoyt swats in a second-place showing at the Mesa Red Mountain Tournament, while Brandon Kelley swings his way to a dead-knotted first-place at a tournament in Show Low.
  • 26 -- The efforts of three of the Longhorn's finest football players -- Jeremiah Lorentz, Tyler Herrera and Tom Rauh -- are not enough to help the South rise above the North in the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star Game.
  • 29 -- Billy Bob Hoyt continues his swinging success on the golf course by capturing the championship win in the 11-12-year-old event at the prestigious Boulders Golf Course in Carefree.


JULY
• 11 -- Nine members of the Payson Pikes swim team travel to Kingman for one of the largest invitationals of the summer. They left the tournament with an eighth-place showing out of 10 teams.

  • 22 -- In a sudden-death playoff, a team representing Pine-Strawberry defeats Payson in a Payson Mens Golf Association Challenge Cup tournament.
  • 24 -- Christopher Pirch -- a three-sport standout at Payson High School -- accepts a scholarship from the prestigious Ivy league Cornell University.


AUGUST
• 8-9 -- The Tonto Apache track and field team wraps up a highly successful inaugural campaign by qualifying three athletes for the 1998 Junior National Championships in Seattle. The three athletes -- Mikey Waterman, Ben Kreiger and Taylor Walden -- each garner top 20 national finishes.

  • 11 -- In the pre-season poll released in Arizona Football '98, magazine editors and writers rank the Payson Longhorns second behind the three-time defending 3A champions Blue Ridge.
  • 28 -- Injuries plague the Longhorn football team, forcing the cancellation of a pre-season scrimmage against Glendale Mountain Ridge.


SEPTEMBER
• 5 -- "It wasn't very pretty." That's how all-state quarterback Hunter Walden describes the Longhorns' season-opening win over Chino Valley, 18-6.

  • 5 -- El Nitrikes again, forcing the cancellation of the Rim country's only softball tournament this year, the Labor Day Classic Invitational Slow Pitch Tournament.
  • 18-19 -- On the soccer field, the Longhorns finish second at the Show Low Invitational with one of the most impressive offensive performances ever turned in by a local team.
  • 25 -- Led by the running and passing skills of quarterback Hunter Walden, the undefeated Longhorns thump the Cactus Shadows Falcons in a 32-0 shut-out. Going into this game, the Falcons were also undefeated, ranked fifth in the state.


OCTOBER
• 2 -- Still undefeated, the Longhorns gores the Globe Tigers 52-0 at the Payson Homecoming Game.

  • 2 -- Payson senior Heath Boyle turns in a first-place run at the annual Sludge to the Judge cross country race.
  • 9 -- Marge Landra captures the 1998 Payson Women's Golf Association Club Championship, her 11th title since 1981.
  • 17 -- The Payson Cowboys whip the Flagstaff 49ers, 24-8, at a Central Arizona Youth Football game played at NAU's Walkup Skydome.
  • 20 -- The regular season winds to a close, with the boys soccer team earning its best record to date, 8-2-2. The Longhorns are also assured a berth in the state tournament.
  • 23 -- The Santa Cruz Dust Devils try to end the Longhorn express, but in the end blow nothing but hot air. The Horns hung on to their winning ways, beating the Devils, 21-14.
  • 30 -- An 11-year drought ends for the Longhorn football team with a 14-7 victory over the Coolidge Bears, launching the division champions into state tournament action.
  • 30 -- Rim swimmer Gary Bonn wins gold and bronze medals at the Arizona Special Olympics Fall Championships at Scottsdale's Cactus Pool.
  • 30 -- Despite a gritty, determined effort, the Horns' cross country team falls short of winning the division championship.
  • 30 -- A double-overtime 7-4 loss to the Palo Verde Christian School ends the hopes of the Horn soccer team of a state championship crown.
  • 31 -- In the regular season-ending Central tournament, the Lady Horns volleyball team pulls off an upset, winning the division championship with wins over Globe, Miami and Fountain Hills.


NOVEMBER
• 6 -- A 53-13 thumping of the Wickenburg Wranglers leads the vaunted Longhorns to the state quarterfinals.

  • 6 -- Plagued all year by inconsistencies, the Lady Horns volleyball team is eliminated in quarterfinal action by Monument Valley.
  • 7 -- Battling Arizona's best high school cross country teams, Payson settles for 7th (girls) and 13th (boys) finishes at the Class 3A state championships in Gilbert.
  • 7 -- Stephanie Ray and the 1998 Lady Longhorns earn a spot in the record books with accomplishments never before reached in Payson's five-year history of the sport. Ray finished 28th overall in a field of 121 runners, becoming the first Lady Horn to earn a medal at a state championship.
  • 13 -- Despite a listless first half, the Horns express rallies in a second-half victory over the Show Low Cougars.
  • 20 -- In state tournament semifinal action, the Horns spank the Safford Bulldogs, paving the way for the state championship game against Blue Ridge.
  • 21 -- Gary Kutscher and Abby Kendall gobbled up first-place wins in the Town of Payson's annual Turkey Trot 5K Walk/Run.
  • 24 -- The Horns basketball players lose their hardwood war against the Round Valley Elks.
  • 27 -- STATE CHAMPS. Hundreds of Horns fan flock to Mesa College to watch as the unstoppable Payson Longhorns bring to a halt the 64-game winning streak of the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets. The Horns win the state title with a 29-20 upset.


DECEMBER
• 1 -- Jeremy Clark, Mark Petefish, Matt Binney and Jeremy Conner are tapped for post-season honors, selected all-region soccer players.

  • 5 -- The middle school wrestling team takes third place among the 11 teams competing in the White Mountain League Championships.
  • 8 -- Fourteen Longhorn football players are selected to either the first or second offensive and defensive teams. Quarterback Hunter Walden is tapped the Central Division's Player of the Year.
  • 8 -- Four Lady Longhorns -- Cassie Fulp, Rheanna Martinez, Heather Branstetter and Stephanie Robertson -- are named to the 1998 All-Central Division volleyball team.
  • 9 -- The Longhorn wrestlers debut in Wilson dome in a five-way meet with wins over Ganado (66-13), Mesquite (72-12), Globe (75-3) and Orme (40-6).
  • 12 -- The four-year, 81-dual match winning streak of the Horns wrestlers grinds to a halt with losses to Salpointe and Sunnyside.
  • 15 -- First-year coach Randy Wilcox breaths a little easier with a full lineup of players at his disposal on the basketball court. The Horns lambaste the Miami Vandals 88-26 in Wilson dome.
  • 15 -- Longhorn wrestlers are back on the winning streak with victories over Coolidge and Santa Cruz.
  • 17 -- Injuries now plague Randy Wilcox's hardwood warriors. The Horns loss 60-51 to Kingman, 80-57 to Flagstaff Sinagua, then 89-53 to Winslow Bulldogs at the Pepsi Cola Invitational.
  • 18-19 -- The Rim Country Duals Team Tournament closes with the local grapplers wrestling up eight consecutive matches and the championship.
  • 20-22 -- Tonto Village's Shelby School competes in the Holiday Tip Off Classic. The team's 12-game winning streak is brought to an end by the Tucson Razorbacks and the Phoenix West All-Stars.
  • 25 -- Seven months after the conclusion of the spring track and field campaign, Coach Chuck Hardt is named the Central Division 1998 Girls' Track Coach of the Year.
  • 29 -- Three local soccer players -- Elisabeth Gille, Davi Ann Greiner and Ashley Hollobaugh, are named to the prestigious Class 3A-1A All State team. Also, Greiner is also named Player of the Year.

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