Like their older athletic counterparts at Payson High, the Rim Country Middle School Mavericks are gearing up for fall sports action.
What is different about the two sports programs is that the White Mountain League the middle school/junior high version of the high school East region conducts softball in the fall rather than the spring as it is in high school. That has allowed Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman to assume the reins of the Maverick eighth-grade softball team.
Currently Brittany Boyes, a veteran member of the Lady Horn squad, is helping Dunman coach the young players.
On the seventh-grade level, longtime RCMS coach Gary Ritter is handling the coaching chores.
In cross country, Carolyn Fruth has taken over the RCMS program from former coach Ellie Hardt who had to step down due to the recent birth of a child.
The eighth-grade football team is coached by Dave Blalock and Ned Schall. Last season, the pair coached the almost same group of players as seventh graders to an undefeated season and White Mountain League championship.
On the seventh-grade gridiron level, Mike Loutzenheiser also the newly appointed high school boys basketball coach is coaching single-handedly. RCMS athletic director Bill Bowling is currently accepting applications for Loutzenheiser's assistant.
Both the football and softball teams kick off the new season Aug. 30 against Winslow.
The seventh-grade teams will host the Bull pups on the Payson High School fields. Game time is 2:30 p.m. The eighth-grade softball and football teams travel to Winslow for 3:30 p.m. showdowns.
The cross country team makes its 2001 debut Sept. 5 at Payson Golf Course. The meet will be held in conjunction with the Payson High School Invitational cross country meet.
According to Bowling, RCMS will be only one of four White Mountain League schools that will be fielding cross country teams. The others are Whiteriver, Blue Ridge and Snowflake.
For more information on the coaching vacancy, call Bowling at 474-4511.