Former Payson High School two-sport star Bryan Zumbro has survived several roster cuts to make the United States Air Force Academy baseball team.
When "fall ball" practices began Aug. 3, more than 100 cadets including Zumbro turned out for the Falcon diamond squad.
Earlier this week, the final cut that trimmed the team roster to about 30 players was made.
According to Bryan's mother, Val, her son was concerned most of the summer about making the team but now is expressing sighs of relief that he has been chosen.
A towering over-the-fence home run in a scrimmage last week probably helped Zumbro's cause, his mother said.
Zumbro was recruited out of Payson High last spring as both first baseman and pitcher.
Once the regular season begins in January, Zumbro could also see action as a designated hitter.
A perk of being a baseball player at the academy is that Zumbro a plebe is permitted to eat his lunch and dinner with RAMP (Recruited Athletes Meal Program).
Dining with the athletes, he is not required to eat at "attention" as academy plebes must do.
"He enjoys not having to do that," Val Zumbro said.
In addition to earning a spot on the baseball team, Bryan has excelled on the rifle range, earning the expert marksmanship ribbon during basic training last summer.
Bryan is majoring in civil engineering but is keeping his AFA options open, hoping to someday to become a pilot.
Bryan graduated last spring with the PHS Class of 2000 and reported to the academy on July 1.
His family traveled to Colorado Springs over the Labor Day weekend to visit him.
"He's doing really well and likes the (academy)," Val Zumbro said.
It's a big draw
Think track and field isn't a popular sport in Arizona?
According to Arizona Interscholastic Association officials, track and field continues to be the most popular and best attended event on the prep spring sports agenda. Last May, over 10,000 spectators attended the state's 88th track and field championship meets, which are the longest running high school championship events in the state. There was, however, no state tournament in 1943 due to World War II.
The state championship meets 2A through 5A are held at two different sites, one of the reasons being that no stadium in Arizona has enough seating capacity for an all-classes meet.
The state's 5A and 4A meet was held at Arizona State University and the 2A/3A competition at Chandler High School.
Both were staged on the same two evenings.