Mother Nature may hold the answer to whether the Payson High School track will be ready for competition April 21, when the local cinder squad hosts the Rotary Freshman-Sophomore Invitational.
Payson High School Athletic Director Dave Bradley says completion of the improvement projects on the south side of the track next to Wilson Dome depends on the weather.
Recent snow and rain that drenched the Rim country slowed work crews from completing a retaining wall that will be constructed between the track and dome.
Currently, about 100 meters near the south side of the oval track is under construction. Not only has the slowing of the retaining wall project thrown a damper on the Rotary meet, it's also made track and field practice conditions much less than desirable.
Since Payson High School track practice began in mid-February, the team has been forced to practice on the football field and about a 200-meter stretch of the north side track.
Track coach Chuck Hardt isn't loudly complaining, but even the most casual of observer can tell practice facilities are cramped.
That situation could turn even worse after spring break when the Rim Country Middle School teams begin practice for the upcoming White Mountain League season.
RCMS coach Randy Wilcox has had over 100 youngsters sign up for the team. Throw that many kids in with the high school mix, and the facilities will undoubtedly be overrun.
But, it gets even worse. Soon, Special Olympic athletes will begin preparing for their summer games.
That means three teams will be practicing on less than one track and field surface.
If you see Chuck Hardt around town, offer him an aspirin for his spring-long headache.
SO basketball in Mesa
The 14th Annual Special Olympics Basketball/Cheerleading tournament will be held March 30 and 31 at Mesa Red Mountain High School. The event is expected to draw about 1,100 SO athletes including some from the Rim country.
At the opening ceremonies at Red Mountain, the Phoenix Suns cheerleaders are slated to make a guest appearance. The event is sponsored by the Phoenix Suns.
Call (602) 230-1200 for more information.
MSA banquet tickets still available
The 9th Annual Mogollon Sporting Association banquet is at 5 p.m. May 12 at the Mazatzal Casino.
Following the no-host cocktail hour, dinner either prime rib or stuffed chicken breast gets under way at 6 p.m., with the auction following.
Tickets bought before the March 31 deadline are $60. After that date, tickets are $75 and the bearers are not entered in the drawing. So, it's best to buy your tickets early and take your chances on winning the rifle or jewelry, Koon advises.
Call Wayne Morgan at 474-3768 to purchase tickets.