The Payson Little League 13- to 14-year-old all-star team came up a tad short in its bid to reach the district tournament.
Playing in the Area One tournament in Flagstaff, the Rim country stars, coached by Don Engler, finished the round robin with a 4-1 record.
In a controversial decision that had some local parents fuming, the district berth was awarded to the Flagstaff team which also compiled 4-1 credentials. That record included a forfeit win from another Flagstaff team.
Officials ruled that because Flagstaff had beaten Payson in a head-to-head meeting in the round robin, Flagstaff should be the team to advance.
Not earning a berth in the district was a disappointment to the players, but the real story of the tournament was the way the players conducted themselves on and off the field.
"These are quality young men," Engler said, upon his return to Payson. "I couldn't be prouder of the way the team worked together and conducted themselves in the tournament."
During their five-day stay in the northland, team members drew praise from opposing coaches, fans, and employees at the hotels and restaurants they visited. Not a day went by that Engler didn't receive some type of compliment on the behavior of his players.
Having had some of those teens in my math classroom at Rim Country Middle School, I can confirm that they are great teens.
Sportsmanship and gentlemen-like conduct is not always the scenario when a group of teens gather in a strange town.
In early June, a high school coach who had brought his team to the Rim country to participate in the Payson summer basketball tournament packed up his players at 3 a.m. Saturday morning and returned home. The team had to forfeit all its Saturday tournament games and its entry fee. Seems the players were running rampant in the local motel they were staying at and refused requests to be respectful of other guests.
After watching the Payson teens play though the Flagstaff tournament with their heads held high, Engler is predicting great things for them.
"If they stay together, they can accomplish whatever they want," he said.
Jackson hosts court day
Local teaching tennis pro Diane Jackson is urging Rim country court buffs to participate in a free seminar 9 to 10:30 a.m. July 20 on the Rumsey Park courts.
"Adults of all playing abilities are invited for free instruction from three tennis pros," Jackson said.
Call Jackson at 474-0583 to register or for more information.
The Payson Youth Football Association will host one final player and cheerleader registration from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. July 27 on the Rumsey North multipurpose field.
The registration fee for player is $70. For cheerleader it is $60.
However, a late registration fee of $10 will be charged.
From 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. July 29, team tryouts will be held on the Rumsey field. Practice begins at 5 p.m. that day.
Pigskin at Rumsey
There are still plenty of vacancies in the town of Payson youth football camp that begins Monday on the new Rumsey Park multipurpose field.
Conducted by Payson High School football coach Steve Saban, the camp is open to fledgling players in elementary and middle school. Sessions will be held 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., July 22 to 24.
Registration, which is $20, may be completed at the parks and recreation department located at Green Valley Park. Call 474-5242, ext, 7 for more information.