Vern Hee / Pahrump Valley Times - Jacob Stearns, seen here taking some warm-up runs earlier in the season, will play a pivotal role in the Faith Lutheran meet today.
Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - Mikayla Davis clears her height at a recent home meet. She will score big for the Trojans in future meets and play a big role at the regional meet.
Horace Langford Jr. / Pahrump Valley Times - Kelbie Middleton runs her 100-meter run in an earlier meet and is the fastest female Trojan on the track (12.44).
The stage is set and the bus is packed and ready to go. Today the Pahrump Valley Trojans track team runs against the Faith Lutheran Crusaders. It’s in the middle of the spring break for the Trojans and they are taking their undefeated record and going up against the undefeated Faith Lutheran Crusaders, who are not on spring break.
Trojans Coach Ed Kirkwood expressed his displeasure in the scheduling conflict.
“It will be interesting because I am missing 40 kids,” Kirkwood said. “We had some kids go away. They had a training for the summer pool and that is the same day. We will go there with what we have. It will be mainly girls that we are missing. We are again a victim of the Clark County scheduling. We asked them not to schedule anything for us during break and they do it anyway and they don’t even bother to rotate the schedule, so we are at Faith two years in a row. The boys are closer to full strength, but the girls are just decimated.”
For Faith this has been a building period of three years. A culmination of a process where for the past three years they have slowly built up the team to be the top team in the I-A.
Pahrump has had the numbers, but it takes time to build the talent. Junior Kelbie Middleton is a good example.
Last year at the Heitkotter she ran 13.01 seconds in the 100 meter and this year she ran a 12.59. Middleton is already faster than Kaitlin Klem, who was the fastest sprinter for the Trojans her last two years.
Pahrump on the men’s side has some rebuilding to do and Trojans Coach Ed Kirkwood realizes this. He has a whole stable of sprinters coming up.
The Trojans had only one male sprinter in the 11-second range at the beginning of the season and that was Keenan Harris. He got hurt but may start rehab soon, which was good news for the team. Junior John Clark broke 12 seconds during the Cheyenne meet with a 11.7 second mark. He is a junior.
Sophomore Nico Cipollini is just a few tenths of a second behind Clark at 12.0. Both will prove to be worth their weight in gold next year if Harris comes back healthy.
Faith on the other hand has runners ready this year and in the sprinting department and are a bit stronger on the male side with Mark Rubalcaba running an 11.04 in the 100 meter.
If Harris was healthy, that would be a good match. Faith also has junior Alfred Soboyejo running an 11.64 in the 100 and sophomore Bryce Neagle running an 11.74.
On the girls side, the Faith girls are strong. They have junior Carissa Maxey with a 12.06 in the 100, junior Cayla Nikodemus with a 12.21. Against Pahrump they could run both or just one of those two. Middleton would be on her own.
In the 200-meter run, Middleton has proven she can come close to beating Maxey and today will be a big test for her against the Faith sprinter.
For the Trojans men’s side, in the 400-meter the Trojans will have Devon Montgomery, who recently broke a school record (50.50 was the record and he did a 50.44) and against Faith could go sub 50. Faith has no one that fast.
Faith also can not match the Trojans hurdlers on both sides of the house.
The Lady Trojans will rely on Jennifer McCaw who had a 1:06.9 at Cheyenne. She could be close to Brenna Rohnkohl of Faith, who ran a 60.93, but Maxey should take the 400 and McCaw would be the one keeping the Trojans from getting swept.
Where the Trojans will lose the meet is in events they normally are strong in, field events. Shot and discus on both sides could go to Faith. The Trojans jumpers on both sides will have their hands full.