Last season, Pahrump Valley’s wrestling team led after the first day of the Division I-A Southern Region tournament and did enough to hang onto the title.
The Trojans trailed host Boulder City after the first day this season, but closed strong, winning three of the four heaviest weight classes to capture the championship with 239½ points. Virgin Valley was second with 195½. Boulder City, which led after the first day, was third with 158.
“This is a very tough region, with plenty of very good teams,” Pahrump coach Craig Rieger said. “Last year, we had the lead but it was a learning experience for us. This year, we knew what we had to do: start and finish strong.”
The Trojans certainly finished well, as Pahrump got individual titles from Jon Corrow at 182 pounds, Jaxon Clayton at 195 and Jace Clayton at 285.
“It was a very tough match, but I was able to pull it out,” said Corrow, who defeated Desert Pines’ Jorge Magana for his first region crown. “We have a very deep team, and we have worked very hard to get to this point.”
Corrow, 27-4 on the season, needed to gain points during the second round before pulling away to a 12-7 decision.
Jaxon Clayton had somewhat of an interesting final at 195, as the senior pinned teammate Abraham Preciado in 2 minutes, 47 seconds. Two matches later, identical twin brother Jace Clayton pinned Clark junior Mervyn Penniston in 4:57 to capture the title at 285.
Virgin Valley started the championship round on a strong note, winning two of the first three weight classes.
Freshman Brandon Smith needed just 1:11 to defeat Steven Tarno of Faith Lutheran at 106. At 120, Juan Dominguez defeated Chaparral’s Luis Hernandez, 16-6.
But after Virgin Valley’s Broc Smith pinned Desert Pines’ Jonathan Velasco at 160 to win his third straight region title, the Bulldogs were out of ammo and the Trojans cruised from there.
“We are going to state and put our best foot forward,” Rieger said. “We know we will have to be at our best, and we sure are looking forward to the challenge.”
In other weight class finals, Spring Valley’s Dan Diaz, who was Division I state runner-up at 106 pounds last season, defeated Virgin Valley’s Jacob Baird at 113. Faith Lutheran’s Owen Lawrie, bound for Duke University, defeated Juan Manco of Spring Valley, 17-2, to capture the 138-pound crown. Cheyenne senior Sterling Walker remained undefeated (31-0) by pinning Moapa Valley’s Kaleb Bodily at 152.