Rim Wrestlers In For Busy Off-Season

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Aspiring wrestlers are gearing up for what is expected to be a busy summer mat campaign.

"We have a lot going on, many things to get accomplished," Payson High wrestling coach Rich Ormand said.

On the calender is a benefit dinner, SunKids Wrestling Camp, a team camp in Gunnison, Colo., and appearances in a national tournament in Virginia Beach, Va.

The benefit Mexican dinner is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 8, in the PHS cafeteria. The menu includes green chile burrito, Spanish rice, beans, chips and salsa, prepared by Jackie Lee.

The price is $6 for adults and $3 for children. Tickets are available from any Longhorn wrestler or coach. Tickets also can be purchased at the door. All proceeds from the meal will be used to help defray upcoming camp expenses.

Many of the aspiring wrestlers are expected to participate in the SunKids training camp June 13 to 17 in Wilson Dome.

On hand at the clinic will be former Phoenix College and Tempe Marcos de Niza coach Joe Romero. While attending Arizona State University, Romero was a two-time All-American wrestler and is considered to be one of the best technicians in the sport.

Former Payson High School wrestling coach Dennis Pirch and Ormand also will be at the camp.

"We'll have a lot of fun and there will be a lot of wrestling," Pirch said.

The fee for local youths to attend the camp is $100. Registration will begin at noon, June 13, in the Wilson Dome wrestling room.

Prospective campers should bring a parent to registration.

In addition to drawing local youth, the camp is expected to attract top wrestlers from the Valley. Those campers will be housed in the LaMona dormitory at Mount Cross Lutheran Church.

Sessions will at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. each day during the week. The camp is open to youths 12 and older.

To Colorado

Ormand anticipates that about 11 high school wrestlers will travel to the campus of Western State College in Gunnison for the team camp. There, the Payson youths will meet up with some old teammates and friends Payson High School alumni R.C. LaHaye, George Coleman, Zack Lee and Larry Wilbanks are members of the Western wrestling team.

Ormand calls the Colorado camp "a great way to prepare and to get into the competitive mode for the National Open Championships. Our kids will have about 15 to 20 matches during the week."

The National Open, June 26 to June 30 in Virginia, is sponsored by the National High School Coaches Association. The championships usually attract some of the best wrestlers in the United States.

About nine local athletes will participate, Ormand said. Among the Rim country contingent will be two teenagers who fared well last year at the national showdown. Nate Lee finished second (171) and Porter Wilbanks (105) was sixth. Their showings earned the pair high school All-American laurels.

Wilbanks, a freshman last season at PHS, will compete in the seventh- to ninth-grade division. Lee, who will be a senior next year, is entered in the 10th- to 12th-grade competition.

In addition to having the opportunity to train for the national skirmish at the two wrestling camps, Ormand hosts sessions at 5 p.m. each Tuesday and Thursday in Wilson Dome.

For more information about the camp or the summer program, call Ormand at (928) 474-2233.

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