Led by weight-class champions Larry Wilbanks (160) and Nate Lee (171), the Grand Canyon region champion Payson Longhorns wrestled their way to fifth place at the Class 4A state championships Feb. 12 to 14 at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.
As a first-year member of the 4A conference, the Longhorns racked up 101.5 points to finish behind seven-time defending state champion Tucson Sunnyside (266.5), Tucson Pueblo (173), Mingus (102) and Ironwood Ridge (101.5).
Lee, a junior at Payson High School, whipped Tucson Catalina Foothills' Lance Contento 16-8 Saturday evening to win the state title.
The 4A gold medal capped a season in which Lee posted a 50-0 record. The state title also was the third that Lee has won and keeps him on track toward becoming the Longhorns' first ever four-time state champion. In his career at PHS, Lee has a 143-3 record.
In winning the 160-pound crown, Wilbanks wrapped up his undefeated season with a 4-1 victory over Pinnacle's Brett Peterson.
With both Wilbanks and Lee in the lineup, the Longhorns boasted perhaps the best one-two wrestling punch in the state.