Region coaches have doled out prestigious All-East postseason recognition to eight members of the Payson High School boys and girls soccer teams.
The players were selected in coaches' voting held at the conclusion of the fall season.
For the Lady Longhorns, junior midfielder Michelle Wing was tapped to the all-region first team. Senior sweeper Ciara Wholly earned second-team honors.
Hannah Lee and Shanna Coleman were named honorable mention. Lee held down a forward position for the Lady Horns, and Coleman was a stopper. Both are juniors.
On the boys team, four-year letter-winner Patrick Karlowski -- who played about every position on the field at one time or another -- was named first team. Shane Tuer, a junior, was second team, playing the forward slot.
First-year varsity players Dakoda Wholly and Brandon Moratti raked in honorable mention laurels.
In bidding adieu to Karlowski at a Nov. 21 awards ceremony, coach Roger Wholly said, "I am sad to see Patrick leave. He was the last remaining member of the 2002 state championship team.
"I hope he has great success at the college level."
Wholly also expressed his delight that he'll have, next season, award-winning players to build the new team upon.
"I'm excited at the great potential of the returning players, and three are all-region," he said.
The highlight of the past season for the Horns might have occurred Oct. 5 during a 4-1 win over Holbrook.
"Our boys had their greatest success that day," Roger Wholly said.
Payson placed on the scoreboard in the ninth minute of the game, on a goal by Nate Doyle off an assist from David Hernandez. Doyle's scoring antics were nothing new for the PHS junior. Only days earlier, he had toed the winning field goal in the final moments of the Longhorn football team's 17-14 homecoming win over Fountain Hills.
While the boys team failed to earn a top-four region finish and earn a seed to state this fall, the returning letter-winners are expected to bolster the Longhorns' playoff chances in 2006.
The Lady Horns advanced to the state tournament, but in the first round were paired against East region champion Blue Ridge.
The Yellow Jackets disposed of Payson 4-0 and advanced to the championship game, only to lose to Sedona 2-0.
For the Lady Horns, coached by Joe Schmidt, back-to-back wins over home standing Holbrook (Sept. 7) and Round Valley (Sept. 10) will be victories not soon forgotten.
In the win at Holbrook, Kirsha Wholly, Ashton Riley and Wing scored goals.
Against the Lady Elks, Panda Stackhouse, Kirsha Wholly, Wing and Coleman scored.
"Both of Michelle's goals came on direct kicks as the result of fouls from 25 yards out," Schmidt said. "She hit the upper corners of the net on both shots."
For Stackhouse and Riley, the scores were their first high school goals.
Defensively, Ciara Wholly, Janet Echols, Lee and Wing drew praise from Schmidt.
"They led an outstanding defensive effort and are playing very strong in the midfield," he said.