An ambitious summer training program that includes a visit from a nationally ranked team awaits prospective Payson High School wrestlers.
The highlight of the summer occurs at 3:30 p.m. June 10 in Wilson Dome, when Clovis West High School of New Mexico, a national powerhouse, comes to Payson to test its mettle against some of Payson's best young matmen.
The afternoon will provide athletes with plenty of competition, but they'll also have the chance to develop camaraderie when they join coaches and fans for a picnic.
In addition to the inaugural visit from Clovis West, other summer events include participation in the Grand Canyon State Games June 3 in Payson. To prepare for the amateur competition, the young grapplers will practice from 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. May 29 to June 3 in Wilson Dome.
Those who travel to Tucson will have their expenses paid by the PHS wrestling club.
Another freebie offered to mat hopefuls is the Sun Kids Club Training Camp June 17 to 21 in Wilson Dome.
On hand to conduct the clinic will be the PHS coaching staff and former collegiate wrestling star Joe Romero.
In addition to the GC games, the Clovis West Visit and the Sun Kids camp, local youngsters have the opportunity to compete on the USA Wrestling circuit almost every weekend throughout the summer.
PHS coach Dennis Pirch said the goal of the program is to provide numerous opportunities for teenagers "to stay busy this summer and improve their athletic skills."
Also, he said, the staff believes "we can do this and still have fun."
The Longhorns will begin the 2000-2001 season as five-time defending state champions. The team has dominated the state wrestling scene for the past 20 years by winning 10 state titles.
Call Pirch at 474-2233 for more information about the summer program.