Payson Athletes Begin Spring Sports Season

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Are ya ready to rumble? On the practice fields at Payson High School, four spring sports teams are ready to do just that.

After almost three weeks of preseason practices, the 2001 campaign tips off in earnest today (Tuesday) when the baseball and softball teams travel to Whiteriver for East regional clashes against the Alchesay Falcons.

The boys and girls Longhorn track teams spring into action Wednesday at Chandler Hamilton High School.

The golf squad gets its opportunity to show its new wares Thursday in Snowflake. The nine-hole tournament has attracted teams from Pinnacle and Mogollon as well as Payson and the homestanding Lobos.

Action in the four sports continues into late April and early May when regional and state tournaments cap the regular season.

The highlights of the golf team's home season could be four matches held on the exclusive Rim and Chaparral Pines course east of Payson.

On March 21, Payson will host all of the East regional teams Blue Ridge, Show Low, Snowflake, Holbrook, Alchesay and Round Valley at Chaparral Pines in a nine-hole shoot. March 27 at the Rim, Payson takes on Fountain Hills. At Chaparral Pines April 23, the Horns host Safford and Sedona in an 18-hole contest.

Payson High's home season wraps up April 25 at the Rim in another all-East nine-hole shoot-out.

For the Longhorn track teams, the season peaks March 24 at the Chandler Invitational.

On hand in the prestigious cinder affair will be the best teams in a three-state area including most of Arizona's 4A and 5A powers.

The Lady Horns have the opportunity to defend their 2000 state championship May 11 and 12. The state tournament begins at Chandler Hamilton and wraps up with a second day of competition at Chandler High School.

The Lady Longhorn softball team, under the tutelege of second year coach Will Dunman, takes its act on the road to two big-time tournaments. On March 8, 9 and 10, the team competes in the Kingman Invitational. The diamond ladies return to the tournament trail April, 19, 20 and 21 in Page.

At both tournaments, Dunman's charges will have the opportunity to challenge Class 4A and 5A schools they wouldn't see during the course of the regular season.

The Longhorns boys baseball schedule features a unique twist in that the Rim team will play a team from Stanwood, Wash.

It's not often prep teams from Arizona and Washington play one another.

The contest is one of a series of Arizona games the Stanwood coach has scheduled for his team during the school's spring break. The intrastate clash is slated for March 17 at Fountain Hills High School.

Longtime prep baseball fans might first glance at the 2001 schedule and ask, "What's Marist High School?"

Located in Sedona, the new school will host the Horns March 30. Since the school doesn't yet sport a jayvee squad, only a varsity game will be contested.

The baseball schedule wraps up May 4 and 5 in Phoenix with the state playoffs.

After rolling to the state crown in 1999, the Horns will be battling for the school's second-ever baseball championship.

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