Mogollon, Mountain Pointe and the U.S. Marines are late additions to the Payson Invitational Wrestling Tournament.
Early this week, the two high schools, one in Heber and the other in Tempe, were granted permission to compete in the tournament increasing the field to 24 teams.
On Jan. 14, PHS Athletic Director Don Heizer agreed to allow the Marines to set up an information booth in the concessions area of Wilson Dome.
There, they will dole out giveaways and provide information about the Marines to interested fans and wrestlers.
Also at the booth, the Marines will have a self-standing chin-up bar available for those wishing to strength test their latissimus dorsi.
In return for allowing the military to set up the information booth, the wrestling program received a $500 donation from the Marines.
Heizer calls the donation and the information booth, “great ideas.”
The addition of Mogollon and Mountain Pointe means just about every geographical area in Arizona — from the northern reservation schools (Grey Hills and Tuba City) to the state’s deep south (Yuma) — will be represented.
Also all school sizes, Division I through IV will be participating, giving the individual wrestlers a chance to compete against opponents they might not meet in the course of the regular season.
PHS coach Casey Woodall is sure having schools, “from a wide variety of divisions should make for some good wrestling.”
Representing the D-I or so-called “big schools” will be Deer Valley, Tempe McClintock, Chandler Williams Field, Apache Junction and Phoenix North.
Camp Verde, Thatcher and Mogollon will be among the small schools participating.
Morenci returns as the tournament champion and Camp Verde was a third place finisher last year.
Tournament wrestling began at 10 a.m. today, Jan. 18, on four mats in Wilson Dome. Round robin wrestling will continue until about 7 p.m.
Round robins resume at 9 a.m. tomorrow, 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 is on points acquired in both pool and placing rounds.
At the conclusion of the tournament, an awards ceremony features the selection of three outstanding wrestling awards —for lightweight (108-128), middleweight (134-162) and heavyweight (172-hwt.).
Also the top-four finishers in each weight class will receive medals, as will the top two teams.
Admission is $5 for an all day pass.