On Saturday, Payson High School hosted a junior varsity and freshman multi-meet at the Wilson Dome that was attended by 12 other teams from the northland and the Valley area.
A multi-meet allows younger wrestlers to get that all-important mat experience in preparation for varsity competition. In a day of wrestling, an athlete will compete three to five times, which is in essence a reward for the hours of practice they put in during the week.
For many young athletes, this is their first wrestling competition and numerous errors are made and corrected by coaches who are working to make these young athletes better wrestlers by day's end.
Amidst the bruises and mat burns of wrestling wars, hopefully new heroes of tomorrow are nurtured. As the day came to a close, I was reminded of that famous quote by President Teddy Roosevelt that magnifies competition.
"It is not the critic who counts: Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who at best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
These Payson Longhorns took that bold step Saturday. The entire team will travel to Holbrook on Wednesday for multiple duals with Holbrook and Marana Mountain View, both are perennial powers in the circle of high school wrestling. The action starts at 4 p.m.
Then, the week culminates in the Rim Country Duals hosted by Payson High School where wrestling action begins on Friday at high noon and continues throughout Saturday.
This is a showcase dual meet tournament where you can see the Longhorns in action against top-level competition.
103 Nick Randall Freshman
125 Ryan Cox Sophomore
135 Chandler Sylvester Freshman
152 Jesus Hipolito Junior
160 Forest Hargett Freshman