Brawling Fans Cast Shadow On Wrestling Regionals

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Saturday should have been a day young athletes from the Rim country and White Mountains could showcase their athletic skills.

Instead, the East regional wrestling championships held in Wilson Dome turned ugly after Show Low's star wrestler Tim Williams broke his elbow while competing against a Snowflake counterpart.

Watching the Snowflake wrestler as he grimaced over his fallen foe, it was obvious he was genuinely concerned about Williams' condition.

While coaches and medical personnel rushed to Williams' aid, an altercation broke out in the stands involving some of the injured wrestler's family members and other spectators.

Payson Police officers responded quickly to ensure that the situation didn't intensify. After escorting the offending fans out of the dome, police officers were subjected to a barrage of profanity and attacks by the rowdy few.

Payson officers handled the situation in a professional manner and should be commended for defusing what could have turned into an ugly situation.

But the day shouldn't have been one in which police force was needed to quell unruly fans. It should have remained a day in which the region's best athletes battled one another in the best tradition of the sport.

Pocketing prize money

Only weeks after teaming up with his new wife Alicia to win a couples fishing tournament, Clifford Pirch joined forces with high school buddy Reese Randall for even more angling honors.

At the AllStar Bass Team Tournament held Jan. 27 at Apache Lake, Pirch and Randall pocketed $1,800 in prize money for their third place finish.

The two weighed in a limit of 13.66 points by fishing spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, worms and jigs along the north side of the main basin.

Pirch and Randall are sponsored on the tournament circuit by Intermountain West Civil Constructors.

Top honors in the tournament went to Patrick Whittaker of Chandler and Frank Burchi of Tempe. The duo caught a six-fish limit that tipped the scale at 19.01 pounds.

Their win was worth $3,000 in prize money. They fished green 4-inch finesse worms to 25 feet deep in the river end of the lake. Their limit included the tournament's biggest bass an 8.10-pound largemouth.

Second place went to Jaff Mason of Gilbert and Lyle Dalby of Apache Junction for a limit weigh 14.68 pounds. For their finish, they earned $2,837. Their strategy was to fish spinnerbaits, inline spinners and crankbaits on points from the marina to Burnt Corral campgrounds.

The next AllStar tournament is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Bartlett Lake.

Call (480) 894-2775 for more information.

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