Beginning this week is the portion of the spring sports season that prep coaches and players most look forward to. For fans, it’s the most exciting part of the campaign.
It’s the regular season ending region and state tournaments and with them are opportunities to earn personal, team and school honors.
The Longhorn golf team began its pursuit of region laurels yesterday, May 3, at the regional tournament in Snowflake. It wraps up today with the final 18 holes of play. If the team finishes among the top four in the East, it will advance to the state tournament to be held May 10 and 11, also in Snowflake.
Holding the tournaments that close to Payson gives local fans and parents an opportunity to drive to Lobo land and catch the action in person.
For the Longhorns to bring home the gold at either the region or state showdown, the team will have to somehow find a way to get past a Snowflake team that is a heavy favorite to win both titles.
The PHS track and field teams travel May 7 and 8 to Show Low High School for the regional finals.
Qualifiers there will advance to the 3A state championships set for May 13 to May 15 at Sun Angel Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.
The real intrigue in track and field centers on whether the Lady Horns have enough thoroughbreds in their corral to win the East and 3A crowns.
All season long the team has shown it has the talent and wherewithal to be title contenders and now they have the chance to prove themselves against the finest opponents from the East and state.
Fans are expecting senior Maddie Nossek to turn quite a few heads in both meets mostly because she is one of the most talented athletes in Arizona.
Her recent high jump of 5 feet, 6.25 inches is a school record and the best in the state this season. She also has a long jump this year of 17 feet, 1.75 inches that is a 3A best.
The boys team is extremely young and probably not yet a title contender, but all local eyes will be on Forrest Waddington to see how he fares in the 800 meters.
If he can duplicate or improve on the 2:02.26 he ran at the Queen Creek Invitational, he could return home from ASU with a gold medal around his neck.
Hook up at the benefit banquet
Gila Trout Chapter #530 of Trout Unlimited is having its first fund-raising banquet Saturday, May 8 at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino. The cost is $35 in advance and $40 at the door. To get a ticket, call Dorothy at (928) 472-7396 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cocktails, from a cash bar, will be served starting at 6 p.m., with dinner at 7 p.m. There will be raffles and auctions.
The evening’s guest speaker will be Jim Burl of www.adventuresinfishing.com, a professional guide from Oregon, specializing in the Deschutes and McKenzie rivers.
All proceeds will benefit habitat restoration on streams under the Mogollon Rim and the East Verde River, and continuing the Trout in the Classroom project at Payson High and Julia Randall Elementary schools.
Donations are tax deductible.
Lady Horn camp set for June
Lady Longhorn basketball coach Kelly Krieg is hoping to build her program from the ground up by attracting aspiring players to youth camps.
She says, her goal is “having a fun basketball camp in which we can build skills and have a positive experience with the game of basketball.”
Another of her goals is to develop in the young athletes “a love of the game.”
As the daughter of a high school basketball coach, Krieg knows what the experiences gained at a youth camp can mean down life’s road.
“Some of my best memories of basketball were attending my dad’s camps when I was in elementary and junior high school,” she said.
The opportunity to experience the thrills of attending hoop camp will occur June 11 and 12 at the inaugural Lady Horn Basketball Camp for players entering the third- through eighth-grades.
Two-a-day sessions will be held 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. in Wilson Dome.
Krieg is hoping to attract 30 to 40 day campers, but says, “We would love to have as many as we can get.”
During the two days Krieg and her fellow coaches, which could include some varsity athletes, will teach basic skills including dribbling, passing, shooting, defense and moving without the ball. Of course, anyone who watched Krieg coach last season knows she will undoubtedly include sportsmanship and character building in the camp curriculum.
There will also be some fun games and scrimmages.
The registration fee is $30 and sign-up can be completed at: www.paysonrimcountry.com/activities or by calling (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.