Pahrump Valley senior Scott Maughan knew going into his regional championship match that he was facing the No. 1-seeded wrestler from his weight class.
But it wasn’t until later that he found out he had also beaten an Italian national judo champion.
Maughan won a nail-biting 10-6 decision over Moapa Valley’s Francesco Branca on Saturday to help Pahrump claim the Division I-A Southern Region title at Mojave. The Trojans finished with 275 points, followed by Virgin Valley (189) and Boulder City (154).
“You could tell,” Maughan said of Branca’s judo experience. “I’ve never done judo, (but) I could tell he was really good. I guess it’s his first year wrestling, but having all that judo behind him really helped him out. He was using it against me.”
Maughan got out to a 2-0 lead after the first period, but the foreign-exchange student scored the next six points to take command. He nearly pinned Maughan after using a judo hip toss to get him to the floor.
“(I used) everything I had to just get out,” Maughan said. “(This title) means everything. It’s my senior year, so I set the goal right away. I had to take first for better seeding at state.”
Maughan escaped to earn two points, and scored the first three points of the third period to regain the lead with 1 minute, 20 seconds to go. His near-pin as time expired gave him three points.
Pahrump had 11 wrestlers qualify for Saturday’s state tournament in Primm to lead all schools. Seven Pahrump wrestlers appeared in the region finals, with four walking away victorious.
Jace Clayton won the heavyweight region title for the second consecutive year by pinning Virgin Valley’s Hector Garcia, and teammates Stephen McCormick (145) and Abraham Preciado (182) won by major decision (11-2) and decision (5-0), respectively.
“We had a great tournament,” Pahrump coach Craig Rieger said. “It’s a tough tournament to win, but I’m proud of the boys. They’ve worked hard. Every weight class, we were pretty solid. The boys really stepped up and had a good weekend.”
Trent Henrickson and Richard McCullough won individual championships to lead Spring Mountain to the team title at the Division III Southern League wrestling meet in Alamo.
Henrickson pinned White Pine’s Joseph Lyons to claim the 126-pound title, and McCullough pinned White Pine’s Emmitt Finicum to win at 152.
The Golden Eagles finished with 190 points. Lincoln County was second at 168, and White Pine was third at 136.
Spring Mountain also had three second-place finishers. Christopher Sanchez lost to Lincoln County’s Jesse McLean at 160, Marcos Morales lost to West Wendover’s Rustin Rubino at 170, and Trejoun White lost to Pahranagat Valley’s Mateo Linares at 220.
Other local champions were Indian Springs’ Troy Heath (145) and Laughlin’s Ryan Torrance (182).
The top four finishers advance to state.