For this edition of Extra Points, we are turning over the space to Payson High School counselor Don Heizer, who served as tournament director for the inaugural Division III, Section II postseason tournament held Feb. 4 and 5 in Wilson Dome.
Don has directed myriads of tournaments, but last weekend’s was a unique challenge because it was a first-ever event and the large number of teams, 15, and athletes (225-plus) that competed.
No matter what the size or uniqueness, Don says the tournaments are a win-win situation for both the wrestling program and the town.
Don has more thoughts on the tournament so he writes:
“All in all the feedback we had from parents, coaches and wrestlers was largely very positive.
“Good tournaments come from having committed table workers, tournament staff and officials on the mats. We have a group of community members who come out year after year to volunteer and make our tournaments special. I cannot thank them enough for what they do for the school and community.
“Along with the community members who work the score tables, we have a core of young ladies who are constantly in training to help run the tables and have assisted at the state tournament for many years.
“Payson and its wrestling tournaments are both recognized for hospitality and making visitors feel welcome. A reflection of our welcome and warmth has come from our hospitality room where we feed coaches, officials and tournament workers. Our hospitality room has been run, until the last few years, by the wrestlerettes with donations from parents and local businesses. The donations include the ingredients for elk chili and elk barbecue along with other local fare.
“During the last few years the hospitality room has been the work of the wrestling booster club and the tradition of a high-quality hospitality room has continued.
“During the recently completed sectional tournament the AIA contributed funds to feed the tournament workers and officials. However, the wrestling club and boosters felt it was necessary to carry on the special Payson tradition of hospitality.
“They arranged for the meals to be provided by Gerardo’s Firewood Café and the response from the coaches was one of extreme gratitude.
“Also one can go to the AZ Wrestler Web site to read about the legendary green chili burritos served in the concession stand. The booster club serves a pancake breakfast on Saturday morning after weigh-ins, helping teams to be able to eat soon after weigh-ins, so wrestlers can be ready to compete earlier.
“All of these many people working together, along with the support of the school board, the administration, community organizations and community members are key components that allow the Payson wrestling tournaments to carry the reputation that has developed over the years. Many hands make a job lighter and the results more fulfilling.
“Did I mention the support the program has received from the Payson From page 1B
Payson Roundup? Your work has been a pivotal component in the development of the tournament and festival culture reputation enjoyed by Payson and the Rim Country.
“There are far too many individuals and businesses that have contributed to the success of the tournaments to identify.
“Again this is a key element — no one really is concerned about who gets the credit, they are more concerned about the end result.”