Phs Appeal Of Softball, Baseball Alignment Granted

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Contrary to what I wrote in the Jan. 18 issue — that Payson High did not appeal any division-section placements to the Arizona Interscholastic Association — PHS athletic director Rob Varner did file an appeal on Jan. 4 for the baseball and softball placements.

AIA officials originally assigned the baseball and softball teams to compete in Division III, Section I where the Horns would play reservation teams like Tuba City, Ganado, Grey Hills, Many Farms and Monument Valley.

But after Varner appealed the placement, Payson was relocated in both sports to Division III, Section III where the team will be aligned against mostly Valley-area schools including Bourgade Catholic, Buckeye, Estrella Foothills, Scottsdale Christian and others.

The change will most likely be a huge plus for the baseball and softball teams because they will not be forced to travel north to the reservation schools where spring weather can be biting cold and sometimes snowy.

In the Valley, the Horns will play in warmer temperatures and against better competition than the North where baseball and softball can be an afterthought to basketball.

Varner says there are other reasons for appealing, “economics based on mileage and transportation, student time out of class and wear and tear on buses traveling over the Rim.”

He also says he “was pleasantly surprised (the AIA) accepted our appeal.”

Among the other high schools that filed appeals, which were granted, are Camelback, Deer Valley, Northwest Christian, Red Mountain, Bagdad and River Valley.

The division-section placements begin for team sports in the 2011-2012 school year and will be valid for a two-year block.

The AIA-mandated realignment for cross country began in September, when the former conference classification was replaced with divisions that were then subdivided into sections.

PHS wrestlers now compete in the division-section configuration, as do all individual sports.

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Town of Payson Athletic Coordinator Trevor LaHaye has noticed both third- and fourth-grade basketball league registrations are very slow and he is concerned about the future of the program.

“We need more interest to make the leagues not only run, but to be successful,” he said.

The registration fee is $30 per player and the deadline is today, Jan. 21, but late registrations will be accepted.

Parents with children in either third- or fourth-grade are encouraged to register their aspiring athlete as soon as possible.

Registration has also been slow in the adult basketball league that LaHaye had hoped would field several different leagues.

The fee is $250 and the deadline is Jan. 28.

For more information, call LaHaye at (928) 474-5242, ext 260.

Bears hot topic at outdoor round table

Next on the popular Shoot for the Heart outdoor seminars is a presentation on Arizona bears to be hosted by renowned hunter and Gila County rancher Steve Smith.

Smith’s program will be held at 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 17 at Mountain Bible Church, 302 E. Rancho Road.

Along with Smith’s presentation, the Feb. 17 program will feature a guest appearance by 70-year-old Alaskan contractor Doug Moe, who in 2007, while cleaning a deer he had just shot on a wilderness island, was attacked and mauled by a Grizzly bear.

The severely injured Moe fought off the bear with a knife, stabbing it several times in the neck. He then walked more than two miles to where his hunting companions were camped.

What his friends saw was that the bear had torn an 18-inch long chunk of fat and muscle out of Moe’s leg and ripped skin hung loose from the hunter’s shoulders and arms.

Following the attack, Moe was hailed as “one of the toughest men alive.”

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