A trio of weight class forfeits was the only stumbling block that prevented Longhorn wrestlers from sweeping five matches in the annual East-West Duals Tournament in Wickenburg.
On Jan. 12 in an annual showdown that pits teams from the two regions of the 3A conference against one another, Payson fell 43-31 to Chino Valley after forfeiting 18 points when the team couldn’t field wrestlers in the 103, 215 and heavyweight divisions.
However, of the 11 matches wrestled, Payson won six.
Also during the tournament, the Longhorns bested River Valley, 56-18, whipped up on a good Parker team, 49-24, outmanned Estrella Foothills, 56-18, and lassoed the host Wickenburg Wranglers, 53-24.
Payson coach Casey Woodall pointed to the win over Parker as a significant triumph mostly because earlier this season the Horns tied the Broncos.
“With basically the same team, so I was pleased with our progress,” he said. “We are still young and making some beginner mistakes, but the kids are working hard and continue to get better.”
For Payson at Wickenburg, Ben Lee, Conner Anderson and Jacob Cluff all finished 5-0.
Jacob Spear, Colton Ludtke, Tanner Savage, Zac Wilson and Gunner Bauer compiled 4-1 marks.
Anselmo Vasques was 3-2 and Tanner Purtill turned in 2-3 credentials.
In junior varsity action, Kyle Brown posted a 2-0 and Dakota Harold was 0-1.
Next up for the Horns is the Payson Invitational to be contested Jan. 21 and 22 in Wilson Dome.
Formerly known as the Tim Van Horn Memorial, the tournament annually draws teams from around the state and of all school size classifications.