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Pahrump Junior Trojans Wrestling back on track

<p>Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - The 2013-14 Pahrump Junior Trojans Wrestling squad poses for a picture after the Junior Wrestling Southern Nevada Wrestling Association Kick-off Tournament.</p>

Special to the Pahrump Valley Times - The 2013-14 Pahrump Junior Trojans Wrestling squad poses for a picture after the Junior Wrestling Southern Nevada Wrestling Association Kick-off Tournament.

Pahrump Junior Trojans Wrestling is underway for the season. The club started wrestling on Nov. 1 and has a new president, Ray Cortez.

The former president, Eli Prunchak, lost a special election. According to Coach Steve Keefe, the club wanted a head that had more experience in wrestling. Prunchak never hid the fact he had no wrestling experience. Keefe said it was time to appoint someone who did have the experience.

Keefe feels Cortez was the way to go.

“Ray is a very energetic coach and he has a lot of vision for the program. He is very committed to it. I think he has more time to devote to the program as well for he is a local businessman, where Prunchak and I work in Las Vegas,” Keefe said.

In the past two seasons, the junior wrestling club has been going in another direction. The club is more serious and competitive said Keefe. He said the numbers alone tell the story. When he first started with the program two years ago, it only had 20 something wrestlers and now the program is bursting at the seams with 50 wrestlers.

“We have kind of changed direction with the program. When it was Pahrump Power House, it was low key and only the basics were taught and very little advanced wrestling was done. In the past two years, Ray and I have kind of taken it to a different level. Now we have advanced the program where even more sophisticated wrestlers, guys that have been in for a while, can now advance. This showed last year. We were far more successful in our tournaments. We came in 5th in Southern Nevada out of 30 something teams,” he said.

The only weakness in the program is not too many middle school kids are out for junior wrestling. Keefe believes there are only two. This is probably due to the lack of communication between the middle school and the club. He feels the club is better equipped today to handle the older kids.