Grapplers Set For Gc Mat Games

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Under the tutelage of Payson High School coach Dave LaMotte, Rim country wrestlers from 7 to 17 years of age spent the past week preparing for the Grand Canyon State Games.

That competition will be held tomorrow (Saturday) in Wilson Dome.

Registration and weigh-in will be from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Competitions in age/weight divisions are expected to begin about 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. The fee is $25 which includes a souvenir T-shirt. Medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age/weight division.

Spectators are welcome and there is no admission charge.

During the past week, LaMotte and his PHS staff put local wrestlers through their paces, teaching them the nuances they'll need to succeed at the Games.

Although the wrestling portion of the games will be held tomorrow, the opening ceremonies won't be until June 20 in America West Arena.

Grand Canyon State officials expect about 10,000 athletes will participate in what is billed as one of America's largest amateur Olympic-style festivals.

At the inaugural game in 1993, about 4,000 athletes participated in 16 sports.

This year, the games will feature competitions in 38 sports. Among the most popular, officials say, are track and field, golf, baseball, basketball, cycling and four-on-four flag football. Other offerings include arm wrestling, baton twirling, goalball, in-line hockey, tae kwon do and badminton. Some sports feature wheelchair divisions.

In 2000, officials broke from the norm to name the Tonto Apache Track and Field team the Grand Canyon State Games' Male and Female Athletes of the Year. In previous years, a single male and female were tapped for the honor rather than a team.

GC officials say they chose the Tonto Apaches for the honor because of the team's many successes in all track and field events.

Last winter, Payson High School junior Zack Lee was tapped the Games' outstanding athlete. Lee first entered the GC wrestling events when he was a seventh-grade student at Rim Country Middle School. Through the years, he won more than 10 gold medals.

For more information, call (480) 517-9700 or visit www.gcsg.org.

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