Hardt Named Cross Country Coach Of The Year

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The awards continue to flow in for Payson High School cross country coach Chuck Hardt.

Early this week, the state coaches association tapped the longtime PHS coach and teacher Arizona's Class 3A Girls Cross Country "Coach of the Year."

The award should come as no surprise. Last fall, Hardt led the Lady Longhorn team to an East regional championship and a runner-up finish at the state meet. Under Hardt's leadership, the girls' team has become one of the premier squads in Arizona. The boys' team struggled this year due to youth and a lack of numbers, but it shouldn't be long before that squad is also formidable.

The exciting thing about Hardt winning the prestigious honor is that he has been around since day one, when the teams barely had enough runners to compete.

In the early days, Hardt recruited in his PE classes trying to convince students to participate. In giving him the award, members of the coaches association obviously recognized his enthusiasm and dedication to the sport.

It's here

Late this week, Payson High School boys basketball coach Randy Wilcox received a copy of the tournament bracket for the Yvonne Johnson Memorial Tournament Dec. 27 and 28 in Camp Verde.

Payson plays at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 against Maricopa in the Camp Verde High School gymnasium.

At 11 a.m. the following day, Payson takes on Mayer also in the high school gym. Later that evening, games will be played for first through sixth place. Also participating will be Maricopa, Cibeque, Fredonia and host Camp Verde.

Father and son in top 10

The Rim country angling team of Chris and Tracy Purtee finished eighth at the BestBet Aluminum Boat bash fishing tournament Dec. 2 at Roosevelt Lake. Weighing in 2.22 pounds of fish, the two pocketed $175 in prize money.

BestBet spokesman Tom Stiles said it was "the toughest bass tournament in many years." The winners, Richard Stever and Ron Stewert, both of Mesa, weighed in just 6.07 pounds. To do that, Stiles said, they "covered a lot of water to scratch out a limit of six bass." Among the 100 anglers who participated, only eight bass were weighed in over the 13-16-inch slot limit.

Dinner bell

Don't forget to stop by Wilson Dome from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. this evening to enjoy a delicious beef or chicken fajita dinner.

Hosted by the Rim Country Middle School wrestling booster club, the funds earned from the benefit will go to assist the Maverick team. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 12. Tickets are available from any wrestler or at the door. Call Marci Sanders at 474-7072 for more information.

After the meal, hang around Wilson dome and cheer on the PHS wrestling team as it battles in the Rim Country Duals tournament.

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