At mid-week, the Arizona Interscholastic Association, the governing body of prep sports in the state, released the all-important Class 3A tournament pairings for both softball and baseball.
Because regular season results from around the East region have not yet been compiled, the seeds of the two Payson teams are undetermined. Those pairings should be finalized early next week.
The girls' softball tournament is May 5 at the Rose Mofford Complex, 9833 N. 25th Avenue in Phoenix.
Seeded into the tournament will be the top four finishers from each of the 3A conferences' geographical regions -- North, East, South and West.
At press time, the best the Lady Horns could hope for is a second-place seed which would pit them against the third-place finisher from the South region. That opening round game would be played at 1 p.m. on Field 3.
If the Lady Horns fall to third, they would play the South regular season runner-up at 1 p.m. on Field 2.
A fourth-place East finish would mean the Horns would have the unenviable task of playing the South champion -- possibly defending state champion Sahuraita -- at 3:30 p.m. on Field 1.
The eight winners of the first round games advance to quarterfinals the following day (May 6) also at Rose Mofford. Semifinal games are slated for May 12.
The championship is on the agenda for 7 p.m. May 13 on Field 3.
The baseball pairings
Longhorn baseball fans are hoping the 2000 edition of the team can repeat the heroics of last spring when Payson entered the state fray as an underdog three-seed but played its way to the school's first state championship.
In the championship finale, the Horns pulled off the upset of the prep season whipping Cactus Shadows 23-11. Cactus entered the gold-medal round ranked No. 1 in the state and on a 35-game winning streak that included a pair of regular season triumphs over Payson.
Like 1999, the Horns won't be entering the state tournament with an advantageous top seed.
Most likely, the best the team can hope for is a third seed, which will pit the Horns against the South region runner-up. That game will be played at 1 p.m. May 5 on Padre's Field 4 at the Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue in Peoria.
All tournament games, including the championship at 7 p.m. May 13, will be contested in the complex.
If the Horns fall to fourth place in the East, they would open the tournament at 1 p.m. on Mariner's Field 3 against the South champion.
That region winner could be the top-ranked and highly regarded Globe team that has been on a tear all season.
Survivors of the opening round return to PSC May 6 for quarterfinal clashes. The semifinals will be played May 12.
Hit the links
Because teams do not have to be seeded against one another in head-to-head competition, the golf finale is a tad less cumbersome for tournament directors to schedule.
The 16 best golf teams in the state -- by virtue of finishes in four regional tournaments -- will gather May 9 at Torres Blancas golf course in Green Valley for the championships.
Also present will be any individual qualifiers who are not members of the top-16 teams. The 36-hole tournament concludes May 10 with the crowning of individual and state champions.
Tee time on both days is 10:30 a.m.
Torres Blancas is located at 3233 S. Alegro Dr. in Green Valley.
The Lady Longhorn track and field team will advance to state finals May 12 and 13 at Chandler High School looking to defend the 3A championship won last season.
In capturing the crown on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson, the Horns ended Safford's 12-year hold on the title by the narrow score of 168-157.
Fans can bet the family farm the Bulldogs will be primed and ready to try and regain the prestigious title.
Chandler High School is located at 350 North Arizona Avenue in Chandler.