One of the most accomplished wrestlers in the storied history of the Payson High School wrestling program has inked a scholarship offer from Boise State University.
Senior Nate Lee signed the national letter of intent Wednesday afternoon at Frontier Elementary School where his mother, Jackie, and coach, Rich Ormand, both work.
The teen is one of only a handful of PHS athletes to earn Division One scholarships. Recently, only Bryan Zumbro, United States Air Force Academy, baseball; Christopher Pirch, Cornell, wrestling; and Billy Bob Hoyt, Hawaii, golf; have been recipients of major university scholarships.
Lee took a recruiting trip to Boise State and returned saying he was impressed with the school, its wrestling program and the academics.
"They push you to be a good student," he said. "Wrestlers have mandatory study hall two hours a day, four times a week."
Lee plans to major in nursing with a goal of becoming an RN.
Lee also was impressed with Broncos' head coach Greg Randall and assistant Chris Owen.
"They both are really good coaches," he said.
Ormand said he believes the university will be a perfect fit for Lee to continue his wrestling career that began when he was in elementary school.
According to Ormand, Lee will probably serve a red-shirt year as a freshman and then have four full seasons of collegiate competition.
If Lee can win the Class 4A high school state championship this year, he will become the first Longhorn wrestler to earn four consecutive state titles.
"That's something I'd like to accomplish," he said.
Lee added to his already illustrious mat reputation by winning the "Outstanding Wrestler" award at the Harvest Open Tournament Nov. 13 at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott.
There, he was the only high school wrestler entered in the collegiate tournament for wrestlers 20-years-of-age and younger.
According to tournament director John Petty, 11 college programs were entered in the mat fray.
Lee opened with a 22-6 win by a technical fall and followed it up with a 12-4 major decision over a California collegian.
In the semifinals, he whipped another California grappler 10-3.
In the championship match, he pinned a California Community College top-10 ranked wrestler representing Victor Valley College in 3:42.
In his final year at PHS, Lee will spearhead a Longhorn team that will be out to defend its Grand Canyon Region championship and improve upon last season's state fourth-place finish.