Payson High School wrestling has a long tradition of sending many quality wrestlers to the next level of athletics. Currently, there are four former Longhorns competing at the college level who made their mark at various programs in the West.
Tyler Goodman is now a freshman at Mesa State in Grand Junction, Colo. Nate Lee is at Boise State University starting at 174 lbs., Zach Lee is at Western State in Gunnison, Colo. wrestling at 165 lbs. Larry Wilbanks is starting at 174 lbs. also at Western State.
All four have made those important adjustments and are having successful seasons on the college level.
Recently, the Cliff Keen Invitational Tournament was held in Las Vegas, Nev. and three of the former Longhorn wrestlers were in action for their respective colleges. The Cliff Keen Invitational has a reputation as being one of the toughest collegiate tournaments in the country and is good measuring stick for later season success.
It is two days of grueling competition and to place in the top eight in one of the ten weight classes is a real accomplishment.
Zach Lee at l65 lbs. went four wins and two losses and earned eighth place having to default in his last match because of a knee injury. His four wins were earned by defeating wrestlers from Northern Idaho 16-0, pinning his opponent from the University of Nebraska, a 4-3 victory over Penn State, and a major decision over Cal State-Bakersfield 14-2. He is the first collegiate wrestler from Western State to have ever placed in this tournament, which is traditionally dominated by Division I teams.
Zach is also a returning NCAA Division II All-American for Western State.
His teammate, Larry Wilbanks, went 1-1 over the weekend and defeated his opponent from Ohio University 10-3 before sustaining an elbow injury that slowed his performance. Wilbanks also earned All-American status last season at Western State and was awarded the Outstanding Freshman Award for the Colorado Conference.
Nate Lee who is the only four-time state champion for Payson High School went two wins and no losses for Boise State where he is a redshirt freshman.
In his two victories he recorded an 11-10 thriller, defeating Nebraska and 13-5 major decision over Mesa State. Nate will be wrestling against ASU later in the season at the PAC-10 Championships to earn a spot at the NCAA tournament.
These wrestlers have been Longhorn champions at Payson High School and are now making their mark at the collegiate level.