Longhorn boys soccer was well represented when coaches announced early this week the members of the All-Rim region team.
That postseason star squad was chosen in voting of prep coaches held Nov. 8 at Hon-dah near Pinetop.
Travis Sanders and Nick Sanders were chosen to the region first team. Michael Orozco and Daniel Wing were on the second team. Rob Jones and Eike Radlow received honorable mention accolades.
Longhorn coach Roger Wholly, who recently wrapped up his first year at the helm of the boys team, said he had few doubts Travis Sanders, the team's leading scorer, would be selected all-region.
"He is very knowledgeable, unselfish, coachable and a solid all-around player," Wholly said.
Nick Sanders, a senior, held down the goalie position most of the season and was known for his solid defense that often kept the Horns in contention.
Nick, Wholly said, "was recognized by (opposing) coaches and players as being a fantastic goalie."
Only a sophomore, Orozco turned in a solid season, playing the forward position. With two more years of seasoning, he could become one of the better players to don a PHS uniform.
Wholly praised Orozco for working well with the rest of the team and having a good attitude.
Wing, a diminutive teenager who played forward opposite Orozco, built a reputation as one of the best ball handlers in the region.
Although he is small, Wing was never timid about taking on the big boys, Wholly said.
The coach said Jones was a player with a devil-may-care attitude, who "would always charge everybody up." Jones will graduate next spring with the Class of 2002.
"We'll really miss him," Wholly said. "You need his kind on a team."
As an exchange student from Germany, Radlow brought to the Payson Longhorns a European flair. His experience overseas, however, was limited prior to his move to Payson by a hip injury, Wholly said.
A tribute to his courage was the fact the teenager, who played the midfield position, toiled the entire season with a broken toe.
Toward the end of the campaign as the injury began to heel, Radlow "blossomed into a really good player," Wholly said.
No all-star game
If state prep soccer coaches are able to found a North vs. South all-star game, as are conducted in most other sports, the senior members of the PHS squad would be eligible to participate.
Currently there is no such soccer star game, but some coaches have indicated an interest in initiating one.
The all-star players would be selected in a voting of coaches similar to the all-region balloting.