Payson High School’s Ben Sandoval has been named All-Arizona third team following a senior season in which he wrestled his way to the 140-pound Class 3A state championship.
The All-Arizona teams are selected by CoachesAid.com and Joseph Sakoda, its Arizona Content Coordinator.
The team members are selected without regard to school size classification, meaning small school athletes (1A to 3A) are pitted against big school (4A to 5A) student athletes.
In addition to Sandoval winning the 140-pound state title this season, he compiled a 13-4 record during a campaign that was shortened by injuries, including a serious bout with the MRSA virus.
Sandoval has been a standout wrestler since his time on the Rim Country Middle School Maverick team.
As a 119-pound freshman at PHS he won the East Region championship and was a state qualifier.
His sophomore season he wrestled in the 132-pound division and finished fourth at state. As a junior, he grappled his way to third-place weight division honors.
In winning the state title his senior year, he finished 4-0 in the tournament pinning Safford’s Zach Garcia in the finals.
In addition to his exploits on the mat, Sandoval was an all-region selection for the soccer team shining on the defensive end of the field during his junior year.
He also competes in track and field as a member of Longhorn relay teams.
Last season, he gave up soccer to play football, but suffered a broken collarbone midway through the season.
Sandoval is also an honor student at PHS in advance placement classes, has played strings in the Sandoval family bluegrass band, is a worship leader in his church and is the senior class president.
First team All-Arizona honors in the 140-pound weight division were garnered by Gilbert Mesquite’s Mike Hamel, a two-time state champion who went undefeated his senior season.
Nickolas Gonzalez of Tucson Pueblo was the second team 140-pound honoree.