Former Phs Wrestlers Standout In Ohio


A pair of former Longhorn standouts showcased their mat skills in the 2006 NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships March 10-11 in Findlay, Ohio.

Larry Wilbanks (165) and Zach Lee (157), both of Western State College in Colorado, qualified for the championships by finishing among the top two at the NCAA Western Regional Championships Feb. 25-26 in Gunninson, Colo.


Zach Lee (left) won the 2003 Arizona state wrestling championship while a member of the Longhorn team.

In Findlay, both Wilbanks and Lee battled their weight to eighth place and finished among the 16 national qualifiers in each weight class.

Wilbanks (23-7) opened with a 2-0 decision over Eric Lakia of Ashland College, but then lost in the second round on a fall.

In the consolation bracket, he won a hard-fought 3-2 decision before dropping back-to-back matches.

Lee (17-6) debuted with a 3-2 decision over Augustana College's Austin Scarset, but then fell in the second round by a narrow 7-6 margin.

In the consolation bracket, he finished 1-2, all of which was decided by close decisions.

Lee, a sophomore at Western State, wrapped up a stellar career at PHS in 2003 as two-time state weight division champion.

During the state tournament, then held in Veteran's Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, Lee dominated the 152-pound competition, chalking up a 4-0 record.


Larry Wilbanks was an Arizona All-Star wrestler during his senior year at PHS.

Three of his victories were on falls and the other, in the championship round, was a technical fall.

As a sophomore at state, he finished second, and as a freshman he was fourth.

During Lee's career at Payson High School, he compiled a 151-10 record and strung together a 95-match winning streak. As a senior, he was 48-0.

Lee entered the NCAA championships as the Western Region runner up.

Wilbanks was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year after winning the Western Region championship.

As a 160-pound senior at Payson High in 2004, Wilbanks won the Grand Canyon region weight class title, the Class 4A state championship and finished with a 52-0 mark.

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