Many honors have been bestowed upon Nate Lee, but none more prestigious than the one recently awarded by the Arizona Wrestling Coaches Association.
In a voting of AWCA members, Lee was named Arizona's "Co-Wrestler of the Year" along with Nick Gallick and Matt Lopez of Tucson Sunnyside.
According to PHS assistant wrestling coach Don Heizer, the AWCA decision to honor a trio as wrestlers of the year is extremely rare, but the long list of accomplishments of the three made it virtually impossible for coaches to pick a single outstanding grappler.
"All three are four-time state champions," Heizer said. "I don't think that's ever happened before. Most seasons, there is one, maybe two, four-timers; hardly ever is there three in one season. We couldn't single one out over the other two."
The accomplishments of the three standouts during their four years in high school also are now paying huge dividends -- all have received college scholarships. Lee is bound for Boise State University, Lopez is going to Arizona State and Gallick will enroll at Iowa State.
Lee (171-pounds) wrapped up his senior season with a 52-0 record and won his second 4A weight class state titles. His first two state crown were won when Payson High was a member of the 3A conference.
During his tenure on the PHS team, Lee compiled an impressive 197-3 record and went more than three full seasons without experiencing a defeat.
Last week, he was named to the All-Arizona Wrestling Team, as were Gallick and Lopez.
Gallick (125) finished the season 31-0 and Lopez (152) was 34-2 for six-time defending state champion Sunnyside.
At the conclusion of the regular season, all three were tapped to participate in the annual AWCA Red vs. Blue All-Star match in Prescott. All three emerged victorious.
Next on Lee's wrestling agenda is the Rocky Mountain Nationals March 18 to 20 in the Western Events Center in Denver, Colo.
Following the Rocky Mountain event, he will travel March 31 to April 3 to Cleveland, Ohio, where he is entered in the Senior Nationals.