With six former Rim country wrestlers now shining on the collegiate level, Payson might be tapped a proving ground for big-time athletes.
Among those currently wrestling for colleges and universities around the country are R.C. LaHaye, Christopher Pirch, Collin Robertson, Tyler Robertson, Matt LaMotte and Jeff LaMotte.
LaHaye, a three-time state high school champion who graduated from PHS last spring, is currently a starting member of the Western State College team in Gunnison, Colorado.
At a tournament recently held on the campus of the University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo, LaHaye wrestled his way to a fourth-place finish in the 141 pound class. The showing improved his collegiate record to 12-6.
Pirch, the son of former Longhorn wrestling coach Dennis Pirch, is plying his wares for Cornell University. At the Cornell Invitational held on the school's campus two weeks ago, Christopher finished third in the 149-pound division. Only last weekend, he racked up another bronze medal finish, this time at the University of North Carolina Invitational.
Brothers Collin and Tyler Robertson, both former Longhorn state champions, are members of the Boise State University wrestling team.
Collin, a 149-pounder, is ranked eight in Division I wrestling standings. At the Cowboy Open tournament held at the University of Wyoming, Collin took weight class runner-up honors.
Tyler, a 157-pound varsity starter, has one semester of eligibility remaining.
Matt and Jeff LaMotte, also brothers, are the sons of current PHS wrestling coach Dave LaMotte.
Both wrestled on the junior college level in Phoenix before transferring to their father's alma mater West Liberty State in West Virginia. Last season, both earned All-American honors.
Matt, a Gulf War veteran, is currently holding down the 165-pound starting spot for West Liberty.
Jeff, who wrestles in the 174-pound slot, is redshirting this season so that in 2003 he and his brother can wrap up their collegiate and wrestling careers together.