Libero Shores Up Back Row

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What is a libero anyway?

That question is frequently being asked at Lady Longhorn volleyball games by fans unaware a high school rule change was instituted this year.

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A new high school volleyball rule this year allows the use of a full time back row player.

Teams can use this season, for the first time ever, a defensive specialist known as "libero."

For the Lady Longhorns, Safford transfer Brittany Moore has manned the position most of the season.

PHS coach Arnold Stonebrink said he wouldn't hesitate using Jade Heglie also at libero, "because we are fortunate to have two (players) who can play the position."

At the Payson Invitational Tournament earlier this season, some of the teams took advantage of the libero rule and some did not.

Stonebrink said he favors the new rule because "it really solidifies the back row and makes the team defense much better."

According to a prep volleyball rule book, the libero is a specialized defensive player, identified by a different color uniform, restricted to perform as a back-row player. She is not allowed to complete an attack hit from anywhere if at the moment of contact, the ball is entirely higher than the top of the net. The libero may not serve, block, or attempt to block. Substitutions involving the libero are not counted as regular ones; they are unlimited and may take place only when the ball is dead and before the whistle for service.

Register now for punt, pass, kick

Town recreation specialist Charlene Hunt is urging Pepsi NFL Punt, Pass and Kick entrants not to wait until the day of competition, Sept. 16, to register.

"It goes a lot smoother, if they will come here (P&R offices at Green Valley Park) and pre-register," she said. "There is no charge."

The competition, which begins at 5 p.m. on the Payson High School baseball field, is open to youths ages 8 to 15.

In addition to being allowed to showcase their gridiron skills, all participants will receive a free pass to the PHS football game that same evening. Kick off is 7 p.m.

In the Pepsi Punt, Pass and Kick events, youths compete in age/sex groups. The categories for boys and girls are: ages 8 and 9, ages 10 and 11, and ages 12 and 13. There are separate categories for boys and girls ages 14 and 15.

Each participant is allowed one punt, pass and place kick, which will be measured for distance an accuracy.

For example, if a youngster passes the ball 100 feet but it's 30 feet to the right or left of the measuring tape, the scored would be 100 minus 30, or 70.

Following the competition, each youngster's yardage for the three events is totaled and the ones in each age/sex group with the most points are crowned champions.

The Payson winners earn the right to advance to the sectional championship Oct. 1 in the Northern Arizona University Skydome in Flagstaff.

The top five point producers from sectional competitions held around the state advance to the Arizona Cardinals team championships at Sun Devil Stadium in December.

The first four boys and girls in the team championships advance to the national finals.

Registration may be completed at the town of Payson Parks and Recreation offices located at 1000 W. Country Club Dr. Registration will also be accepted on the day of the competition beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Youth Basketball

Participation fee for youth basketball is $20 per child. Divisions will include grades 3 and 4, 5 and 6, and 7 and 8. Games may be played on Saturdays and during the week.

Registration for seventh and eighth grades is Sept. 19 through Oct. 12. Games begin in November.

Registration for fifth and sixth grades is Dec. 27 through Jan. 18. Games begin in February.

Registration for third and fourth grades is Nov. 21 through Dec. 14. Games begin in January.

Those who register after the deadline for their age group will be placed on teams if space permits. Registration fee includes T-shirt, a minimum of 10 games, and an end-of-the season pizza party.

For more information on the Punt, Pass and Kick competition or youth basketball, contact the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at 1000 W. Country Club Dr., call (928) 474-5242 ext. 7, or visit paysonparks.com.

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