Sports Camp Helps Develop Young Athletes


Arizona Sports Camp has for decades played a huge role in the development of the Rim Country’s young basketball players. Former Roundup editor Niki Hale (Price) attended the camp in the 1980s and went on to star for the Lady Longhorns.

So did her younger sister Colleen, who continues to hold team records.

In 2004, Andy Sargent earned Most Valuable Player honors at ASC. He attended the camp along with 18 other Rim Country players, the largest Payson contingent to attend the camp.

The camp has long been popular among coaches and parents because teamwork, fundamentals, sportsmanship and discipline are priorities.

For five consecutive days, coaches teach basic skills and techniques that allow players to improve their weak areas and develop their total all-around game.

ASC Director Gary Ernst, the head coach at Mesa Mountain View High School, has strong ties to the Rim Country — he maintains a summer home here and both his parents live in Payson.

Earlier this week, Ernst was in Payson and issued an invitation for aspiring players to attend one of upcoming sessions of Arizona Sports Camp.

Sessions for boys in grades 3 through 12 will be held on the campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott from June 15 to 19, June 22 to 26 and June 29 to July 3. A girls camp will be held July 6 to 10.

The fee for the overnight camp is $365, which includes room and board, on the court instructional sessions, classroom sessions, video-taped analysis, full-time trainer, T-shirts, swimming and game room.

Among the coaches who will join Ernst at the camps is Peoria’s Kenny Trout, Jon Kimberlin of Canyon del Or, Thunderbird’s Jim Johnson and Don Shaver of the Centennials.

Retired NBA referee Tommy Nunez, the author of “Taking My Best Shot,” will make a guest appearance.

For more information, call Ernst at (480) 835-6485.

Tourney time

The Jack Morris Memorial Tournament, which is open to all amateur golfers, tees off at 7:30 a.m., June 20 with a shotgun start at Payson Golf Course.

The entry fee is $85 per player, which includes green fees, cart, and food and prize money.

“We need as many players as possible because the money is for the kids,” tournament director Gary Cordell said. All proceeds benefit the Payson High School football program and to fund a scholarship that goes each year to a deserving PHS graduate.

Prizes will include closest-to-the-pin awards on all par-3 holes, longest drive in the fairways and a hole-in-one prize on a pre-selected hole.

The tournament golf committee is currently accepting other raffle prizes and hole sponsors. All donations are tax-deductible and a tax ID number is available.

For more information about the tournament, call Cordell at (928) 970-1584.

Meet to benefit Pikes

The inaugural Payson Community Swim Meet will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, May 30 at Taylor Pool and is open to entrants of all ages who can swim at least 25 yards.

Swimmers will compete in one of 12 age/sex divisions from 6 years to 70 years and up.

Participants may choose any three events to participate in including freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and individual medleys.

Also at the meet, a silent auction will be held to raise funds.

A concession stand will be open to meet the hunger pangs of the swimmers.

The $5 entry fee closed May 25, the late entry fee is $7.

All the money earned will be used to fund the Payson Pikes swim team.

For more information about the Community Swim Meet, call Wendy Ward at 468-0137 or log on to


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