Wrestlers Prepare For 'Beast Of The East'

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The Payson Longhorns ended the dual meet season with two victories over 4A powers Coconino, 39-34, and Flagstaff High School, 42-40, this past Wednesday in Flagstaff.

The two victories upped the Longhorn record to 24 wins and 5 losses for the 2006 and 2007 highly successful season.

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The Payson High School wrestling team is gearing up for the Feb. 3 East regional championship tournament. The top four wrestlers in each weight class will qualify for the state tournament held the following week.

The Payson squad was without the services of Taylor Byers at 112 lbs. and Porter Wilbanks at 145 because of injury and sickness.

Having two starters out of the lineup and still be able to record dual meet victories is a tribute to the entire squad and coaching staff. Coach LaMotte is hoping both will be in the lineup this Saturday for the divisional meet, which is the state qualifier for the 3A conference.

The divisional meet, which begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, will be a highly contested team race with Payson and Holbrook heading the field. But, don't count out Snowflake, Round Valley and Blue Ridge, who all have a shot if either team were to falter.

For the 3A East, this is the normal wrestling competition.

Over the years, the divisional meet has been called the "Beast of the East" tournament and fan support is essential. Payson has the opportunity to host this event in the Wilson Dome, so Longhorn fans must come out and help Payson win the 3A East Divisional tournament.

On Thursday, the day after traveling to Flagstaff, the wrestling team hosted its annual spaghetti dinner and it was overwhelmingly successful once again.

Mark and Suzanne Fumusa lead the kitchen staff as they have for almost 20 years of volunteering their services, dating back to when their boys were wrestling for the Longhorns.

Coach LaMotte and the wrestling team are deeply appreciative of all the fan and parent support for the spaghetti dinner.

Don't miss the next wrestling action -- the divisional meet in the friendly confines of the Wilson Dome on Feb. 3.

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