Do you suppose the Arizona Interscholastic Association's decision to host a series of upcoming track officials clinics is partly motivated by a huge faux pas two years ago at the state 3A track and field meet? In that mix up, which involved former Payson High School running star Whitney Hardt, officials miscalculated the number of laps that had been completed in the 3200 meter run.
Rather than running the required eight laps, the athletes finished only seven. What made the officials' counting error even more disheartening was the fact that Hardt and Chino Valley's Jodie Denike were on pace to set a new state record. Because it was Denike's senior year, the teenager never had another opportunity to set a high school standard.
A mix-up of that magnitude is a darn good reason to train officials.
AIA officials say the clinics are indeed an effort to upgrade and improve track and field officiating.
On Feb. 1, a clinic will be held at Phoenix Thunderbird High School.
According to AIA officials, the intention is to have all officials certified for regional and state meets. National Federation Training certificates will be awarded to all participants.
For more information on the clinics, call Dean Visser at (602) 388-3821.
Rensch on fire
Former Shelby School and Payson High basketball player Dallas Rensch is filling up the nets for the Mountain View Toros.
In MV's 69-59 victory over Westwood Friday evening, Rensch -- a senior who has accepted a Division I basketball scholarship -- scored a game high 25 points.
Days earlier in an 88-80 triple overtime loss to Mesa Dobson, Rensch was red hot, scoring 35 points.
After leading tiny Shelby School to state honors as a seventh and eighth grader, Rensch played a year at PHS before transferring to Mountain View.
His father, Steve, annually hosts the highly popular Copper State Jam youth tournament and conducts summer basketball clinics.
At Mountain View, Rensch is coached by Gary Ernst who owns a home in Payson.
The Payson High School wrestlerettes will host a benefit steak dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today (Tuesday) at Payson Elementary School. Tickets, $5 for adults and $3 for children, are available at the door. The menu includes sirloin steak, baked potato, salad, beans and beverage. All proceeds from the benefit will be used to purchase much-needed supplies for the wrestlerettes.