Phs Soccer Struggles To Stay 1a-3a

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Readers are asking why the Payson High School soccer teams have competed the last few seasons in the Class 1A-3A Rim region when all the other sports teams participated in the Class 3A East region.

In prep sports, soccer has a conference and regional setup of its own.

It’s difficult to track down why that occurred other than some of Arizona’s small-town high schools have only recently begun fielding soccer teams.

The past year, all Payson High School sports teams, except soccer, participated in the 3A conference that houses 31 schools with enrollments of 450 to 949 students.

Inside the 3A conference, Payson was aligned in the East region along with Snowflake, Show Low, Blue Ridge, Round Valley and Alchesay. The 3A also features North, South and West regions.

In state soccer, some 3A schools along with all of those in the 4A and 5A conferences compete in winter leagues.

The Payson soccer teams, however, opted to participate in the fall conference that is made up of 30 schools.

Only 11 of those schools represent the current 3A conference. The remainder are from the much smaller 1A and 2A conferences.

Inside the 1A-3A soccer conference, Payson was assigned to the Rim region along with other small-town central Arizona schools. Because the state’s small-town high schools compete in two separate conferences, two state champions are crowned each year. One from the fall league and another that represents winter play.

With Payson’s move to the Grand Canyon region of the 4A conference next year and if the soccer teams go along with the move all the schools’ sports teams will be entered in the same region/conference.

That would be a first for PHS.

However, Payson High has petitioned 1A-3A athletic directors to remain in that conference for another two years.

Athletic Director Dave Bradley said the reason for the petition is to allow Payson to continue playing in the fall rather than the winter months. In Northern Arizona, he reasons, the fall weather is much more conducive to playing the sport than the winter.

If the request to remain 1A-3A is granted, soccer will continue to compete in a region and conference separate from other PHS school teams.

Duo fish way to BASS honors

Local professional anglers Mark Kile and Clifford Pirch are heating up the BASS tournament trail.

The two pros recently finished first and second in the BASS Arizona Federation championships held at Apache Lake.

Kile finished in first place, compiling 599 out of a possible 600 points.

Pirch trailed slightly, finishing with 592 points.

Their showing qualified the pair for the BASS regional finals, which will be held next spring in Montana.

A strong finish there would send the two packing to the BASS national finals next summer. That tournament, which is nationally televised, is one of the most prestigious in professional bass fishing circles.

Diamond clinic

The Arizona Pro Baseball Camp will be held Dec. 27 to 29 at Scottsdale Papago Park. The camp is for high school players only. All instructors currently serve as major league scouts or players personnel directors. The camp cost is $300.

Call (602) 617-0200 for more information.

Youth Basketball (Grades 5, 6)

Participation fee for youth basketball is $20 per child. This division will include fifth and sixth grades only.

Those who register after the deadline for their age group will be placed on teams only if space permits. Registration fee includes T-shirt, a minimum of 10 games, and an end-of-season pizza party. Registration runs until Dec. 13.

Urban Fishing Program

Arizona Game and Fish has begun stocking Green Valley Lake. Children 14 and over are required to have an urban fishing license. Game and Fish will stock fish October through May. For more information contact (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.

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