The rapidly improving Payson High School wrestling team tuned up for the Payson Invitational with dual matches against former 3A East Region rivals Show Low and Round Valley.
In Show Low on Jan. 11, the Horns overwhelmed the Cougars 48-27, but dropped a 33-32 squeaker to the Elks.
With the Show Low Duals now in the rearview mirror, the Longhorns are steering toward the upcoming invitational which PHS Casey Woodall predicts, “Is really shaping up to be a good tournament — should be a lot of good wrestling.”
The Payson Invitational, which will be held Jan. 20 and 21 in Wilson Dome, has drawn a record 23 teams including defending champion Chandler, last year’s runner-up Gilbert Highland, and 2011 bronze medalist Camp Verde.
Durango High will represent the state of Colorado.
Following the Show Low Duals, Woodall praised the wrestlers saying, they are “Definitely showing some progress” but cautioned, “We need to be more consistent.”
In the meet, five Payson grapplers — Cody Shepard (106), Zac Wilson (120), Jacob Spear (138), Conner Anderson (152) and Anselmo Vasquez (195) emerged with perfect 2-0 records.
William McCrary (126), Trevor Anderson (132) and Brett Royer were 1-1.
Dallin Macnab (113), Kyle Brown (145) and Denny Clinton (170) finished 0-2.
The Horns were forced to forfeit the 160, 220 and heavyweight divisions because the team did not have wrestlers to enter.
Payson Invitational schedule
Wrestling action tips off at 10 a.m., Friday, Jan. 20, in on four mats in Wilson Dome. Round robin wrestling is expected to continue until about 7 p.m.
Round robins resume at 9 a.m. Saturday and continue until noon. From 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., cross-pool, consolation and championship finals will highlight the invitational. Team scoring will be on points acquired in both pool and placing rounds.
At the conclusion of the tournament, an awards ceremony will feature three outstanding wrestling awards — for lightweight (108-128), middleweight (134-162) and heavyweight (172-hwt.). Once again Don Heizer is serving as tournament director.
Admission is $5 for an all-day pass.