When the winning tradition of the Longhorn wrestling program is at stake, PHS seniors Doyle Van Horn and Jimbo Armstrong are at their best.
The duo, defending weight-class state champions who were vital cogs in the Horns run to the 3A crown last winter, continued their winning ways at the Arizona Coaches Association All-Star meet held Saturday in Casa Grande.
Wrestling in the 160-pound celestial clash, Van Horn slipped past Matt Allred of Wilcox 4-3 in a match he described as tough. "The guy was pretty good," he said.
For the 189-pound Armstrong, the star games resulted in another rough-and-tumble mat war fans have come to expect. After building an 11-3 lead over Mesa Mountain View's Chris Weaver, Armstrong used a combination double-legged take-down and half-Nelson to win by a fall.
In Van Horn's victory, the Payson teenager jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period recording a takedown. In the second stanza, Van Horn upped the count to 4-0 on yet another takedown.
Allred finally got on the scoreboard early in the third period with a one-point escape.
Minutes later, the Willcox star made things interesting for fans, closing to within a single point on a takedown.
Van Horn, however, was able to stifle Allred's late rally and hold on for the triumph.
Other winners included North's Nick Kehagias, Winkelman's Ruben Casillas, Round Valley's Oscar Hernandez, Tucson Sunnyside's Mike Sala, Willcox's Ben Morales and Antonio Sepulveda, Mesa Dobson's Dillian Langelier, Mountain View's Andy Sargent, Moon Valley's Jeff Gast, Horizon's Quint Swanberg, Joseph City's Brandon Larson and Thomas Rogers and Safford's Bryan Nelson.
Athletes chosen to participate in the annual All-Star matches are selected in a voting of Arizona Coaches Association members at the conclusion of the regular season. Participants must be high school seniors.