Payson Teens Go To Grand Canyon Games

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A pair of Rim country sports teams showcased their high-flying athletic acts at the 2003 edition of the Grand Canyon State Winter Games.

In the four-on-four flag football competition, the team of James Gibson, Josh Blalock, Jake Apfel, Darren Daniels, Shane Hounshell and Luke Apfel finished second in the 15- to 17-year-old recreation division.

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Volleyball players at the Grand Canyon Games included (front, l-r) Britney Owens, Shea Hatch, Staci Scholl, (back l-r) coach Dani Hatch, Retosa Marshall, Terri Pete, Hillari Hardt, Megan Miles and coach Peggy Miles.

A volleyball team of Britney Owens, Shea Hatch, Staci Scholl, Retosha Marshall, Terri Pete, Hillari Hardt and Megan Miles finished fourth in the 15- to 18-year-old women's recreational division.

More than 7,000 athletes participated in the GC games that began Feb. 21 and will continue until April 6. Most competitions are being held at various venues near Arizona State University in Tempe.

The Rim football team, which advanced to the championship game, played Feb. 22 and 23 at the Tempe Diablo Soccer fields. In the finale, the Payson gridders dropped a close game to Glendale Mountain Ridge

Competing Feb 22 in the ASU Physical Education East gym, the Payson volleyball team advanced through pool play and a double-elimination tournament to a battle for bronze-medal honors.

Payson came up just short of the third-place finish losing the finale 25-21 to Summit. First-place honors went to Ganado's Navajo team, which beat Lake Havasu for the gold medal.

The Payson volleyball team was coached by Dani Hatch and Peggy Miles.

In addition to football and volleyball, some of the most popular offerings of the winter games are basketball, bowling, cycling, softball, soccer and tennis.

Competitions also are held in lesser known sports like arm wrestling, dance and billiards.

The theme of this year's games was "Champions One and All." The executive commissioners are Arizona Diamondbacks pitching star Randy Johnson and Tom Gugliotta of the Phoenix Suns.

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