This year's Payson Longhorn wrestling team is led by senior Porter Wilbanks who holds down the 145-pound weight class.
Traditionally, the middleweights are always loaded with very athletic wrestlers and coach LaMotte has the right wrestler in Porter at 145.
As a junior, he was a conference champion and won the state title in his weight class at 140 pounds. This year, he moved up a weight division and is training hard to be a two-time state champion.
Currently, he has 20 victories against a single loss, which was suffered in a Nevada tournament.
Early setbacks are really great motivators for a wrestler like Porter who has a tremendous drive to be the best he can be.
After graduation, Porter hopes to earn a scholarship and continue wrestling at the collegiate level. With the new program at Grand Canyon University starting in 2007, it is possible he could be wrestling for former Longhorn wrestler R.C. LaHaye, who is their new head coach. With Porter's hard work and determination, he should have the opportunity to wrestle at the next level.
When not on the mat, Porter enjoys the outdoors, fishing and hunting with his brothers, Austin, Donnie, Larry and Matt.
All were involved with the athletic programs at Payson High School. His fraternal twin, Tory, is a high school standout on the volleyball team and also will playing at the collegiate level. High school athletics are very important to the entire Wilbanks family.
It is interesting to note that Porter's heritage goes back over 140 years in the Rim Country, where his ancestors homesteaded the area and became cattle ranchers.
If you drive down Main Street, look for the Lone Pine Hotel, which is still owned and operated by the Wilbanks family.
I can remember being a young coach and attending a booster club meeting led by Porter's grandfather, Larry.
It was amazing how much that organization accomplished for the betterment of athletics in this community. That tradition of grassroots support has carried on to the next generation with Porter's father, Duke, who is active in fund-raising for the wrestling program.
When you attend the next home wrestling meet, it will be obvious to see the Wilbanks family in support of their youngest son, Porter, in his quest to be a 2007 state champion for the Payson Longhorns.