Surviving The Crowd At Freestone Park

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A good-sized group of local parents and boosters is expected to be on hand tomorrow (Saturday) at the 2000 Arizona High School State Championships. The fans will be there to cheer on the Lady Longhorns in their quest for a state crown.

Some might think cross country is an unheralded prep sport that draws only limited numbers of spectators. That's not true, however, at the state championships, which are expected to draw about 7,000 people.

The meet management team has issued a warning that with that many fans coming and going to the day-long activities, traffic and parking at Gilbert Freestone Park will be frustrating.

The best advise from officials is for fans to follow some basic guidelines to ensure all runners can compete fairly and spectators are able see their favorite athletes..

Remember all participants and spectators are guests at the Gilbert park and common courtesy should be the rule and not the exception.

Also, athletes are required to run a specific course which will be designated by strings of flag-rope. So, keep the area around the ropes clear at all times.

Parking will undoubtedly be a problem, but spectators should never park on the grass or sidewalks. Some areas have been reserved for school vehicles and fans are asked to not use those areas.

There is a small school parking lot at the east end of the park as well as several parking lots north of the canal. These lots can be used and are about 10 walking minutes from the start/finish line.

Finally, the management team is asking everyone's assistance in keeping the park clean. Please deposit all trash in appropriate containers.

To reach Freestone Park, exit Highway 60 and turn south at Gilbert Road. Turn east on Guadalupe and go one mile to Lindsay Road. Turn south on Lindsay. The park is on the east side of Lindsay.

The competition is slated to begin at 9 a.m. with the running of the Class 5A boys. Action continues throughout the day before culminating at 2:45 p.m. with the 3A girls run. That is the event in which the Lady Horns will participate.

One-half hour earlier, the 3A boys will compete. Payson's Wes Sprinkle is the only local athlete entered.

Following the competition, an awards ceremony will be held in an area between the park's south and north lakes, just west of the four ball fields.

A winner

Tonto Basin resident Steve Coombs teamed with Mesa's Daron Coombs to finish eighth at the BestBet Fishing Tournament's season opener held last weekend on Roosevelt Lake. Weighing in 6.04 pounds, the pair earned $175 in prize money.

The tournament champions, Gene Gregory of Phoenix and Jerry Enders of Glendale, put together a six-bass limit weighing 8.61 pounds. The team received $2,350 in prize money.

Many of the anglers in the tournament had success fishing Carolina-rigged watermelon lizards and spinnerbaits on flats and points down to 30 feet.

Some fish were caught in the Goose Flags area including the second largest bass a 4.14-pounder.

The big fish award of $500 went to a Mesa team for a 4.79-pound lunker caught on a Carolina-rigged, 6-inch tequila sunrise Berkley Power Worm in 12 feet off Windy Hill.

The next BestBet tournament for aluminum boat owners is scheduled for Dec. 2 on Roosevelt Lake. For more information, call (480) 894-2775.

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