Postseason Honors Harder To Come By In 4a Conference

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Only a week after the Payson High School soccer teams were snubbed in the selection of the All-Arizona teams, both the boys and girls Longhorn basketball teams suffered the same fate.

When the All-Arizona hoop teams were announced March 14, no PHS players were chosen first or second team, nor were any included on the honorable mention list.

Not having a player chosen is probably not because the PHS teams didn't have quality athletes. Rather, the reason for the slight could lie in Payson High's move to the 4A conference from 3A where the school had been for more than 20 years.

The competition to make postseason all-star teams is simply much greater in the 4A ranks than it was when the Horns were members of the 3A conference.

The 3A conference, which is made up of schools with student bodies of 450 to 949 students, has five regions and 33 member schools.

If each school averages 700 students, athletic teams in 3A have about 23,100 prospective athletes to draw from.

The 4A conference, which is made up of schools with enrollments of 950 to 1899 students, has eight regions and 58 member schools. It's the largest conference in Arizona.

If each school averages 1300 students (most are larger), athletic teams have about 75,400 students to draw from -- about 50,000 more students than 3A.

If Payson remains in the 4A conference after next year --nd that's a big "if" because its enrollment is closer to 3A numbers than 4A --onghorn athletes will continue to find it doubly tough to earn postseason recognition.

The stiffer competition in the big school ranks makes Longhorn wrestlers Larry Wilbanks and Nate Lee selection to the All-Arizona first team even more impressive.

Stocking Stuffer tourney moves to Chaparral Pines

The Payson Stocking Stuffer Golf Tournament is held annually to raise money for Christmas holiday gift giving to underprivileged children and adults in the Rim country.

Last Christmas, Santa's List -- which sponsors the benefit tournament -- helped more than 1,000 needy residents by providing them with gifts.

The good news for Santa's List and golfers is that the 18th annual tournament will be held for the first time on the plush Chaparral Pines Golf Course.

The competition is open to all amateur golfers, and starts at 11 a.m. May 11.

The entry fee is $225 per player. The Early Bird fee is $200 for those who sign up before March 19. The fee includes green fees, cart, lunch and a prize party at the conclusion of the tournament.

Prizes will be awarded for closest-to-the-pin drives on par 3 holes and for longest drives (Both men and women).

The lucky golfer who shoots a hole-in-one on a pre-selected hole will win a 2004 vehicle from Chapman Auto Center.

Entry forms are available at the Payson Roundup. 708 N. Beeline Highway. For more information, call (928) 472-8827 or (888) 843-8032.

Cash at stake

The Payson Area Habitat Home Run 5K will offer cash prizes to the overall top three male and female finishers. First place is worth $100 and second place finishers receive $50. Third place runners earn $25. Medals will also be awarded to the top three men and women in each age category. All racers are also entered in a raffle.

The 5K will be May 15 at Green Valley Park. The annual event, which draws both walkers and runners, will get off to a booming start at 8 a.m. Registration and T-shirt pickup begins at 6:30 a.m. Immediately after the run, until about 10 a.m., a pancake breakfast and awards ceremony will be held in the park. The registration fee is $15 if paid before May 7. After May 7 and on the day of the race, the fee is $20. The registration fee includes participation in the race, an event T-shirt and breakfast. Guest breakfast tickets will be available on race day for $3. Children's tickets are $1.

In addition to the breakfast and run, there will be free family activities on going in the park.

Walkers and runners will compete in one of eight age/sex divisions beginning with 12-years-and-under and continuing to 70-years-and-older.

The event is held each year to benefit the Payson Area Habitat for Humanity and its mission to build affordable housing in the Rim country.

Registration forms are available at the Payson Athletic Club located at 400 E. Highway to 260 or the PAHH offices at 1013 S. Goodfellow Road. Call (928) 474-0330 for more information.

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