PHS assistant coach Chuck Yale, a former prep track coach and athletic administrator in New York state, gives a pep talk to the Payson High School track team at a recent practice.
Payson High’s hopes for a Division III or “state” track and field gold medal might rest with pole-vaulter Keith Williams.
After all, he is one of the event favorites with a mark of 14 feet, 3 inches that ties him with Show Low’s Daniel Patterson for the best mark this season.
The two cleared the height May 7 in Snowflake at the Last Chance Invitational.
Williams is the only PHS athlete, boy or girl, who has recorded a D-III best this season.
The D-III meet begins today, May 13, at Mesa Community College and wraps up tomorrow with finals in all events.
At the division meet, there are two other vaulters, Trevon Penrod of San Tan Foothills and Show Low’s Doug Johnson, who have gone over 14 feet and could battle Williams and Patterson for the gold.
In addition to Williams in the pole vault, Payson has two other event qualifiers in Levi Sopeland and Austin Shannon.
Sopeland’s PR of 12 feet is 19th ranked in D-III and Shannon is 20th rated at 11 feet, 6 inches.
To qualify for state, athletes must have a top-24 mark in their events.
Blake Brown is also among the Payson qualifiers, he will advance in three events —long jump, high jump and 4x100 relay.
Brown qualified in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet, .25 inches that is the fifth best this season.
To win a state gold, however, Brown must outduel Florence’s Jermaine Woods, who has gone 22 feet, 3.5 inches.
Florence also has the second-ranked long jumper in Robert Lewis (21 feet, 10 inches).
nine holes of golf, prize money and dinner catered by Teri’s Good Stuff.
For more information, call Parsons at (928) 978-7606 or e-mail her at Jan@paysongolfcourse.com.
Little League golf benefit
Payson Little League is hosting its annual benefit golf tournament on May 21 at Payson Golf Course.
The four-man scramble tees off at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. The entry fee is $65 per player and is tax deductible.
The fee includes 18 holes of play, cart, catered lunch, prizes and contests.
Among the contests will be closest to the pin, longest drive and a “Las Vegas hole” where players can wager on whether they can slap a tee shot into a pre-drawn circle.
Also, Little League is in need of hole, prize and team sponsors.
Tournament co-director Duane Kaufman said the local Little League program desperately depends on the funds earned in the annual tournament, and he’s inviting all golfers to turn out in support of Rim Country youth.
Entry forms are available at Payson Golf Course or by calling Kaufman at (928) 978-1946 or Bob Ferkol at (928) 978-3772