When the Arizona Interscholastic Association did away with the region/conference configuration in high school sports two years ago, replacing it with divisions and sections, the reasoning behind the change was to reduce travel and out of class time for student-athletes.
So when the 2011 and 2012 schedules came out, fans were asking, “Why is Payson playing River Valley?”
The two schools are more than 320 miles apart and travel time, including rest stops, could approach seven hours.
The route will take Payson players through Flagstaff onto I-40 west toward Los Angeles, exiting in Kingman then traveling toward Bullhead City and Laughlin, Nev.
The school is located in Mohave Valley, Ariz.
For Payson to arrive at River Valley High School today to dress out and conduct pregame meetings and warm-ups, the Longhorns had to leave early this morning.
Which means almost a full day out of school, and tiresome hours on the road — so much for the argument of reducing travel and missed classes (although for this game the students are out of class for the fall recess).
Six-plus-hour road trips were the norm in the 1980s and ’90s when PHS was a member of the now defunct A-West Division and had to travel to Parker for regional games. When PHS was a member of the 4A Grand Canyon Region in the mid 2000s, teams traveled to Page for games.
To help compensate for the long hours on the road today during the trip to Mohave Valley, the school and football club will share the bill to rent a state-of-the art traveling bus, which will be a far better experience than riding in those yellow transport buses designed for busing tiny elementary school students across town.
Barr tournament on deck
The Third Annual Mike Barr Memorial Softball Tournament will be played tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14, on multiple fields at Rumsey Park.
The home run derby is set to begin at 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 14 immediately after a coaches meeting.
The tournament will be played throughout both days.
The entry fee for the derby is $20 per hitter and the team registration for the tournament is $300.
Waylon Pettet, one of the directors of the tournament, says there are openings for teams, but the field is limited to 20 teams.
For the tournament, all teams are guaranteed three games and possibly four, which will be played in a round robin.
Following pool play, a championship, single-elimination tournament will be held.
The required male-to-female team format is five-to-five.
The Mike Barr Memorial Coed Softball Tournament and home run derby was founded to generate funds for the Michael T. Barr Foundation.
The foundation’s expressed purpose is to help financially strapped PHS students pay for some of their needs, such as sports physicals and the $200 pay-to-play fees at the school.
Barr, a former Payson High School three-sport star, died July 14, 2010 of heart failure.
At the time of his death, he was 25 years of age and working in California doing underwater construction.
His death sent shock waves through the Rim Country, mostly because he was a picture of health, blessed with immense athletic talent.
For more information on the upcoming tournament or to register to play, call (928) 951-3976. Also e-mail: mtb3foundation@ live.com.