Payson Hot Shots Kick It Up A Notch In Tucson

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The Payson Hot Shots girls soccer team will not have to pay the $230 entry fee to participate in the Grand Canyon State games.

The fee has been waived by officials because the Hot Shots won the 16-years-and-under division championship at the Tucson edition of the games held May 31 to June 2 at Golf Links Park.

After finishing first in their division, the Hot Shots went on to finish third among all divisions.

Opening ceremonies for the Phoenix showdown kicks off at 7 p.m. June 20 in America West Arena. The games in 36 sports continue at various Valley locations until June 23.

The soccer tournament is slated to be held at Red Mountain and Quail Run Parks in Mesa.

The Hot Shots, coached by Grant Kepp, Kendrick Francis and Andrew Karlowski, comprises players who participated the past several years in Town of Payson Parks and Recreation leagues.

All but three of the players have at one time played on the Kepp-coached Attitudes town team. The team members, Kepp said, "all are pretty serious soccer players."

In addition to participating in the upcoming GC games, the Hot Shots are slated to travel to Flagstaff where they are entered in an American Youth Soccer Organization league. That league begins July 6 and continues each Saturday until mid-August.

By competing in the off-season, Kepp said, the girls hope to improve their skills enough to help the Lady Longhorns win regional and state honors next season.

The players will be freshmen and sophomores at Payson High School next fall.

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