Following a brief holiday respite from competition, Longhorn wrestlers return to mat action Jan. 5 at a Mogollon High School-hosted multi-meet to be held in Heber.
The last time the wrestlers were in action was Dec. 8 at a multi-meet in Show Low that drew most of the teams from the now defunct 3A East region.
Competing along with Payson were Blue Ridge, Round Valley, Snowflake, Alchesay and host Show Low.
Many of those same teams are expected to compete at Mogollon.
The Horns will take to MHS a team that has been forced to forfeit at least two weight classes due to a lack of entrants. The Horns have forfeited matches in the 103-lb. and heavyweight divisions which means Payson finds itself at a 12-point disadvantage on the team scoreboard.
Those types of deficits are difficult to overcome, no matter how talented the remainder of the team.
Payson has been led most of the season by Zac Wilson (119), Matt Schreur (125), Ben Lee (140) and Gunner Bauer (160).
In a 54-18 loss to Blue Ridge and Show Low, Wilson and Lee both won 8-6 decisions, and Schreur and Bauer pinned their foes.
Others who could compete at Mogollon include Austin Armstead (112), Jacob Cluff (130), Tanner Purtill (135), Colton Ludtke (145), Conner Anderson (150), Tanner Savage (171), Hilton Macnab (189) and Samuel Lamont (215).
Also at Mogollon, the team could be buoyed by the return of Jacob Spear to the lineup. He’s been sidelined with an ankle injury for several weeks.
The Longhorns have only one home appearance this season — Jan. 21 and 22 at the Payson Invitational.