Lee Bows Out In Cleveland Gold Games


Zack Lee's highly acclaimed prep wrestling career culminated last week in Cleveland, Ohio with an All-American finish in the National Senior High School Championships.

Competing in the 152-pound division against the nation's best high school seniors, Lee wrestled his way to an eighth-place showing.

In the national tournament, the top-eight finishers in each weight division are honored as high school All-Americans.

The tournament field included 780 wrestlers who had finished as weight division state champions or state runners-up in 46 states.

According to Payson High School coach Dave LaMotte, Lee's weight division included five "blue chippers" who had earlier received Division 1 collegiate scholarships.

"Zack was undoubtedly in the toughest weight class," LaMotte said.

Lee opened the two-day tournament with a pin of a Kansas wrestler and a 9-3 decision of the Virginia state champ.

In the third round, he lost 10-4 to the nation's No. 1 ranked 152-pounder -- C.P. Slater of Ohio.

The loss dropped Lee into the consolation bracket where he decisioned a Tennessee wrestler 9-5 and a Florida representative 5-3.

In his sixth match of the two days, he outpointed a Minnesota champion 5-3.

Lee's three-match consolation bracket streak came to a halt in a 10-4 loss to an Oklahoma wrestler.

The loss dropped him into a final match against the Virginia wrestler he had beaten the first day of the tournament. This time around, Lee's foe avenged the earlier defeat with a 6-2 win.

According to LaMotte, in the 14 years he has been taking wrestlers to the national championships, Lee is the first to earn All-American honors.

With his prep career at an end, Lee will spend the next few months considering his college choices.

Among the schools that have shown interest in Lee are Western State and Adams State Colleges.

Also representing Payson at the high school national championship was 215-pound George Coleman. In the first round, Coleman was pinned by a Minnesota wrestler. He rebounded in the consolation bracket to win a 9-5 decision over a California grappler.

Coleman was eliminated from the competition by a loss by a fall to a Michigan athlete.

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