The Longhorn boys soccer team has begun gearing up for the schools' return to 3A East after spending two years in the 4A Grand Canyon region.
The difference in conference alignments will be huge for the team since soccer is played in the cold winter months in 4A, while in 3A, it's a fall sport.
No longer will the Longhorn players and coach Roger Wholly fret about playing, practicing and traveling in snowy winter conditions north to the three Flagstaff schools and faraway Page.
Next season, Payson will focus their energies on East regional rivals Blue Ridge, Show Low and Snowflake.
Wholly anticipates the move back to 3A where Payson resided from 1982 to 2003 will be a real boost for his team.
"It's going to be good for us. I think I'll get a better turnout (of players)," he said.
"Plus, we get to go back to the East. They were trying to move us to the (Phoenix-area) Metro (region) but we talked them out of it."
Preparations for the season are under way in Payson High School weight room and on the football field.
Wholly hosts conditioning and weight training sessions from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays that are open to all high school age students. Wholly also will host the "Skills and Drills" soccer camp Aug. 1-5 on the North Rumsey field.
During the sessions, held each day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wholly will teach the techniques and philosophy he expects junior varsity and varsity players to learn before the season opens Aug. 8.
Camp registration fee is $20.
For more information, call Wholly at (928) 474-2233.