Wrestling Camp Builds Interest In Sport

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Aspiring young wrestlers had the opportunity last week to learn more about the sport from a highly respected veteran coach and four former collegiate All-Americans.

The chance presented itself at the Payson Wrestling Camp held July 12 through July 14 in Wilson dome.

The camp staff included PHS coach Dave LaMotte, R. C. LaHaye, Zach Lee, Matt LaMotte and Jeff LaMotte. LaHaye and Lee are former Payson High School mat stars who earned their All-American honors at Western State in Gunnison, Colo.

Jeff and Matt LaMotte, the coach's sons, were All-Americans at West Liberty State College in West Virginia.

Jeff LaMotte also starred at Payson High School in the 1990s. Matt was a standout at Gilbert High during his prep career.

Also helping out at the camp were current Longhorn grapplers Mark McCarty and Porter Wilbanks.

At the conclusion of the camp, Dave LaMotte called the sessions a complete success, saying the goals of building interest in the sport, learning fundamentals and having fun were all accomplished.

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This pair of aspiring wrestler took advantage of the free wrestling camp that was held in Wilson Dome. The camp attracted about 15 local youths in grades three through eight.

LaMotte also said he is hoping to hold future week-long camps during the first week of the spring and fall breaks.

"We would like to draw 50 to 60 kids to really get them involved," he said.

The camps will be open to students in grades three through eight, and free of charge.

Campers who show a keen interest in the sport would be eligible to join the Payson Wrestling Club, which competes in off-season USA wrestling tournaments around Arizona.

The most accomplished of the club members would be eligible to compete in national tournaments around the country.

Among the former Longhorn mat greats who used the USA Wrestling tour as a springboard to success are George Coleman, Nate Lee, Zach Lee, Larry Wilbanks, Clifford Pirch, Mike Barker and LaHaye.

-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail mfoster@payson.com.

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