Second-year Longhorn soccer coach Chris Avakian is hosting “open field” sessions from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each Monday and Wednesday at Rumsey Park.
All high school players are invited to attend free of charge.
The coach says during the sessions players “do a little bit of everything” including ball handling, one-on-one drills and scrimmage.
Avakian is urging all prospective players to attend the sessions to better prepare for the upcoming fall season.
Payson High School alum Patrick Walker, also a former Payson Roundup Young Man of the Year, obviously read a June 5 Extra Points column, which briefly told of the closing of Flagstaff Sinagua High School and what it would mean to student-athletes, coaches and the balance of athletic power in the 4A conferences, especially the Grand Canyon Region, of which, the Flagstaff schools are a member.
Walker is now the news director and anchor-reporter on NAZ Today, Flagstaff Cable 4.
It seems he’s been covering for months the story of Sinagua closing and its impact.
He responded to the column with a lengthy e-mail detailing events now occurring in the Flagstaff school district and city.
Walker agrees with what I wrote in Extra Points that reducing the district to two high schools rather than three should make the two remaining schools — Flagstaff and Coconino — much more competitive than they have been the past few seasons.
“Having two larger schools will better concentrate the talent we have in Flagstaff,” Walker said.
He’s also predicting both Flag and Coco could give powerhouse Mingus “a run for the money” next season in both football and baseball.
With the Arizona Interscholastic Association planning realignment for 2011 that would reduce travel and expenses, Payson High could again be aligned with the Flagstaff schools as the Longhorns were from 2003 to 2005.
Pikes on the road to QC
The Payson Pikes swim team travels tomorrow, June 19, to the Queen Creek Unified School District Aquatic Complex to compete pete in a meet hosted by the Rio Salado Swim Club.
The Pikes will be in home action at Taylor Pool in duals meets on June 26, July 10 and July 17.
On to Italy (hopefully)
Former Lady Longhorn softball star Mary Hagen has been invited to travel Aug. 1 to Italy where she will be a member of the American Prospects team that will compete in international tournaments.
But to make the trip, Hagen must raise $3,800 to pay expenses.
So far, she has raised $2,000 and is scrambling for the remainder to make the July 1 deadline.
Those who would like to help Mary make the trip can contribute donations at Payson Compass Bank or by calling her at (928) 951-4835.
Donation forms are available at the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.
Football sign up
The early registration period for next year’s play in the Payson Youth Football League ended June 14, so the fee has increased to $100 from $75.
Parents interested in registering their children for the league may do so from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, June 26 at Chapman Auto Center.
Practices will begin Aug. 2 and the first games played on Labor Day.
Last season, Payson was affiliated with the White Mountain-based Northeastern Arizona Youth Football League (NAYFL), but next fall Payson teams will return to the Northern Arizona Youth Football Association — formerly the Central Arizona Youth Football Association — which they competed in for a decade before deciding last summer to depart CAYFA in favor of NAYFL.
The biggest change parents and athletes will notice is that in NAYFA, players will be assigned to leagues and teams based on age and size.
In NAFYL, athletes were assigned on school grade level.
The Payson association is in need of volunteers and coaches. Anyone interested should call Daniel Way at (928) 978-6723 or Pamela Way at (928) 978-6560.