Former Payson High School wrestler Jeff LaMotte, now a student-athlete at West Liberty State University in West Virginia, has earned Academic All-American status. After graduating from Payson High School, LaMotte wrestled on the junior college level for one season before transferring to West Liberty --his father's alma mater.
At PHS, Jeff was a state weight-division champion and an Arizona Coaches Association All-Star.
His father, Dave, is a teacher at Payson High and is on the PHS wrestling coaching staff.
The Longhorn baseball team has struggled out to a 7-8 record this season, but the voting members of the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association continue to acknowledge the squad as one of the top 10 in Arizona.
In the most recent rankings -- which are compiled every two weeks -- Payson High holds down the 10th spot in the 3A conference.
Ahead of the Longhorns are: 1. Globe (9-2); 2. Chandler Seton (10-1); 3. Fountain Hills (14-3); 4. Safford (10-4); 5. Blue Ridge (8-3); 6. Show Low (7-4); 7. Chino Valley (9-4); 8. Sahuarita (8-5); and 9. Snowflake (8-8).
In the 5A conference, Horizon (12-2) is the top-ranked team. Tucson Catalina Foothills (13-0) holds down the top spot in 4A.
Arizona Sports Camp
Part-time Rim country resident Gary Ernst -- the highly successful boys' basketball coach at Mesa Mountain View--is one of three camp directors at the upcoming 39th Annual Arizona Sports Camp to be held on the campus of Yavapai College in Prescott. ASC is billed as "the best (basketball) fundamentals camp in the country" and has attracted a bevy of Payson athletes.
PHS boys' basketball coach Randy Wilcox said he's sending his daughter Amy --who'll be a freshman next season -- to the camp. Sessions this summer are June 19 to 23, June 26 to 30, July 3 to 7 and July 10 to 14 (girls only). Youngsters in grades 3 through 12 are eligible to enroll in the camp.
Cost of a week-long session is $310 which includes a nice dorm room in Supai Hall, nourishing meals in the college cafeteria, on-the-floor instruction, daily classroom sessions, video-taped player analysis, T-shirt, films, clinic book, and optional swimming. A full-time trainer is also on site. A nice touch is conducted on the final day when campers -- with proud parents looking on -- put on a display of their newly learned skills and discipline.
Emphasis at the camp is on shooting, ball handling, position play, defense and individual moves. Scrimmages are conducted in 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and full-court 5-on-5 play.
As a former high school and middle school basketball coach, I've referred many youngsters to Arizona Sports Camp and they've always come away thrilled with the experience. My own two sons, now in their 30s, fondly remember their stays at the camp. Possibly a grandson will attend this year, making two generations of our family to participate in the camp.
Call Ernst at (480) 835-6485 for more information.