The winter sports campaigns at Payson High have officially wrapped up and the onset of spring play is just around the corner.
Knowing 1999 was a banner spring which few sports fans will ever forget, Longhorn faithful are preparing themselves for what could be even more great memories.
As the defending state champions, the baseball team is prepping for a shot at a second successive crown.
The girls track team pulled off the upset of prep season last spring, ending Safford's 13-year hold on the state title. The team lost superstar Stephanie Robertson to graduation, but has enough returning veterans to again be a state force.
Coach Dave Bradley's golf team turned in its best-ever state showing, finishing second among 3A schools. The returning players have been honing their skills on various courses -- including some in the Valley -- in hopes of this time nailing down a first-place finish.
Under new coach Will Dunman, the Lady Longhorn softball team is primed and ready to show that it's capable of playing on even terms with the likes of region powers Show Low and Snowflake.
PHS Athletic Director Barry Smith has done his best to put together competitive and complete schedules for all the sports. But as always, they can change at the last moment.
The biggest hindrances to finalizing schedules is weather. Often rain forces an event to be rescheduled or canceled
Also, in track and field, it's not entirely uncommon for schools to decide to enter mid-week meets on just a few day's notice.
Spring schedules will be released by Smith this week and included in future issues of The Payson Roundup.
Season-opening scrimmages for baseball and softball are set for Feb. 24 against Winslow. The baseball team travels there for a 3:30 p.m. encounter. The Lady Horns host the Bulldogs also at 3:30 p.m.
Golf tees off at 3 p.m. March 1 on the Chaparral Pines course against Snowflake, Show Low and Blue Ridge.
Also that day, the track and field teams travels to Winslow for a multi-meet.
The next BestBet Aluminum Boat Team Bass Tournament is scheduled for Feb. 19 at Roosevelt Lake. Call (480) 894-0642 for more information or visit www.azha.com on the Internet.
Last chance to sign up for Youth Wrestling Camp: There are still a few openings for youth wrestling camp, which begins Tuesday, Feb. 15.
The camp is taught by state champion PHS wrestling coach Dennis Pirch and the Longhorn coaching staff. It's open to youth in grades 2-6.
The fee is $15 per child and will be limited to the first 50 children to sign up. Sessions will be held each Tuesday and Thursday from 3:15 to 5 p.m. Feb. 15 to March 9.