Phs Hosts Fresno In 'Low Key' Mat Meet

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They're visiting Payson for some ferocious competition, but winning will take a back seat to camaraderie.

"It's pretty low key," Payson High School coach Dennis Pirch said about tomorrow's visit from Fresno's Clovis High School wrestling team.

At about 5 p.m., the 21 member Clovis West team from California will take to the mat in Wilson Dome to test their wrestling skills against selected members of the Payson summer program.

No team scores will be kept and the outcomes of the matches are not included in any individual's prep won-loss statistics. Following the match, the two teams will gather for a hot dog cook-out, Pirch said.

The wrestling matches, along with the cook-out, are open to the public free of charge.

In it's second year of existence, the Payson-Clovis West event is part of the Longhorn wrestling team's summer training program that also included participation in the Grand Canyon State Games.

Held last weekend at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, Payson sent a contingent of 10 athletes to the games.

Four grapplers R.C. LaHaye, Caleb Miller, Bryce River and Zack Lee who played prominent roles in the Longhorns run to its fifth successive state championship last winter returned with two gold medals each.

In the 143-pound junior (16-17 years), LaHaye won both the freestyle and Greco-Roman competition. Also among the juniors, Miller was the 154-pound freestyle and Greco-Roman champion.

Both will be seniors at PHS next school year.

In the 209-pound cadet (14-15 years) division, River who wrestled varsity last season as a freshman took first in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.

Also in cadet competition, Lee (132 pounds) finished first in both wrestling styles.

Other cadet division athletes who traveled to Tucson and returned with medals included Daniel Reisdorf (103: third place, both styles), Matt McCarty (121: second place, both styles), Brandon Boll (143: second place, both styles), Brett Williams (154: second place, both styles) and Luke Schmidt (184: first place, freestyle; second place, Greco-Roman).

In the junior division, Payson's 132-pound Aaron Bratholt wrestled his way to a pair of silver medals.

As Payson's only representative in the school boy division (12-13), Nathan Lee (145) was first in freestyle and second in Greco.

Next up

Following the clash with Clovis West, Rim country youngsters will have the opportunity to hone their mat skills June 17 to 21 at the Sun Kids Club training camp.

The camp is free of charge to Payson-area youngsters who wish to attend. Pirch expects about 40 mat hopefuls from around the state to also enroll.

Former Arizona State University two-time All-American Joe Romero, now a coach at Tempe's Marcos de Niza, will be on hand to help coach the campers. Also on the mat staff will be five collegiate wrestlers representing ASU and the University of Northern Colorado.

Call Pirch at 474-2233 for more camp information.

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