If Payson High School wrestlers compete this weekend in the Payson Invitational with the same intensity and passion they did in finishing third last week at the 20-team Tucson Catalina tournament, the Longhorns will undoubtedly contend for medal honors.
Not only did the team win the bronze at Catalina, it finished just 14 points out of first place and knocked off a foe regarded as one of the best in Division III.
“We beat (Tucson) Amphi, which is one of the top-ranked teams in the state,” said coach Casey Woodall. “I was extremely proud of our team effort; every wrestler scored team points.”
Individually, the Horns had two wrestlers — 120-pound Dallin Macnab and 138-pound Chase Elmer — win gold medals.
Both drew Woodall’s praise, “I was very pleased with the poise and heart they both showed in the championship matches. They didn’t panic when they got behind. They continued to wrestle hard, listened to their corner and battled back to win.”
The determined, hard-nosed attitude both showed, Woodall said, “Is the kind of wrestling we are trying to build our program around.”
Both Macnab and Elmer trailed on points early in the third period, but rallied to win.
Also in Tucson, 170-pound Kyle Brown and 220-pound Anselmo Vasquez wrestled to individual third place finishes.
A trio of Longhorns — William McCrary (126), Tate Sweeny (145) and Jake Ames (182) — finished fourth.
Brothers Conner and Trevor Anderson earned fifth place honors.
Conner competed in the 160-pound class and Trevor wrestled at 132 pounds.
Although Cayse Barry, Gilberto “Tito” Vega, Dakota Harold and Tanner Dendy didn’t medal, they scored all-important team points.