Five Trojan wrestlers finish in top 4 at state tournament

PRIMM — Eleven Trojan wrestlers spent a long, tough day Saturday, proudly wrestling their hearts out for championship positions at the State Championship Division 1-A Tournament at Primm.

As a team, the Trojans tied for 3rd place among the Nevada Division 1-A’s 19 of 21 high schools that made it to state. Five Trojans beat their opponents to place among the top four positions: At 145 pounds Stephen McCormick placed 3rd in State; at 170 pounds Scott Maughan placed 2nd; at 195 pounds Jaxon Clayton placed 3rd; at 220 pounds Jeremy Coates placed 4th; and at 285 pounds Jace Clayton placed 2nd.

As Pahrump Trojans Coach Craig Rieger predicted, Lowry High School of Winnemucca would play a major contender against Pahrump, with a Lowry team score of 155 and a Pahrump third-place tie score of 87 with Virgin Valley. From there, other high school team scores went down to as low as zero.

Before the wrestling started, Coach Rieger encouraged each of the 11 state Trojan wrestlers to take each round just one at a time, to be aggressive and push hard. He urged each wrestler to put his all into each round.

Rieger commented, “These rounds determine big [team] points and are tough matches, as they’re supposed to be at State.” With 9 Trojans still in the running at the quarterfinals, he said, “We’re there, but now for the really tough matches.”

Eventual matches left the top five Trojan placements as shown above. Notes of each of the 11 State Trojan wrestlers follow:

At 113 pounds, Senior David Martinez lost his first match 4-14 to north Nevada Division opponent Aram Villegas of Elko, who eventually beat his way to place 1st in state. Martinez wrestled well against this top-seated opponent. In Martinez’ second match, he lost by a close decision of 6-9, dropping Martinez out of state. Martinez, with only two-years wrestling experience, represented the Trojans well this season, leaving with an overall win-loss record of 17-13.

At 120 pounds, Junior Levi Gundacker soundly beat his first opponent with a pin in 3:44. The coach commented a few times during the season that Gundacker’s weight class was unusually competitive with highly accomplished wrestlers in many schools around the state. Indeed, this played out as Gundacker lost his second match in a painful decision 2-7, where his Virgin Valley opponent went on to earn 1st place. This kicked Levi back in the bracket to wrestle and lose a narrow decision 3-7 to a Chaparral opponent who would eventually win 4th place. With a region record of 4-1 and an overall season record of 30-14, Gundacker represented the Trojans well. Gundacker commented to prepare for his senior season of wrestling, he plans to work hard at jujitsu, focusing on forms of pins, joint locks and throws as a means of practice.

At 132 pounds, Junior Nick Nelson lost his first match by an unfortunate pin to opponent Rockwell of South Tahoe, who eventually won 2nd place. In a narrow decision 1-3, Nelson lost to contender Richardson of Western, who eventually won 3rd place. These kind of losses are painful, as they show Nick has what it takes to place in state. Nick went to state with a good 4-1 region record, and finishes the season with a 26-13 record. Nick will come back for his senior year stronger and more experienced.

At 145 pounds, Senior Stephen McCormick wrestled four state matches, winning three and losing one, to earn 3rd place at state. In these matches, he earned a total of 23 points by decision and allowed his opponents to earn only 5 points. He beat his first opponent by a close decision 2-0, and lost by 1-4 decision to his second opponent Barrington of Spring Creek, who went on to win 1st place. McCormick turned on his focused-explosive form in his final two matches, soundly beating his opponents with extraordinary major decisions of 12-1 and 8-0. McCormick went to state with a 5-0 region record and finishes his senior year of wrestling with an impressive overall season record of 42-6.

At 152 pounds, Junior Samuel Tucsnak wrestled three state matches. He beat his first opponent by decision 8-7, and lost his second match by a pin with one second left in the three-round bout (5:59). Tucsnak lost his third match by a wrenching 9-7 decision to Herrera of South Tahoe, who eventually won 2nd place. Tucsnak went to state with a region 3-1 record and finishes the wrestling season with a 30-9 record. Tucsnak will come back next year stronger, with three full years wrestling experience, and with good region and state experience.

At 160 pounds, Junior Jonathan Corrow wrestled three state rounds, beating one opponent and losing to two. Corrow beat his first opponent soundly by decision 12-6, and lost to his second opponent Hughes of Churchill County by decision 7-1—Hughes went on to earn 1st place. Corrow suffered a painfully close loss by decision 10-11 to his final opponent Mentaberry of Lowry, who went on to earn 3rd place. Corrow went to state with a region 2-1 record and finishes the wrestling overall season with a solid 30-9 record.

At 170 pounds, senior Scott Maughan finishes his last year of high school wrestling with an impressive 2nd in state, region record of 5-0 and overall season record of 27-2. At state, Maughan worked his way straight to the finals with a pin at 3:06 and a pin at 1:44. This pitted Maughan, top contender of region South, against top contender of region North, Beau Billingsly of Lowry. In a killer wrenching bout where Maughan nearly got a takedown in the last seconds, Billingsly narrowed Maughan out of the championship round by a 3-4 decision. Scott commented he got to state and the championship round with very hard work and determination. He worked out all summer, played hard at varsity football and then worked hard in wrestling.

At 182 pounds junior Abraham Preciado beat his first state opponent with a pin in 4:30. In a hard defeat by pin at 4:33 he lost to his second opponent who went on to win 2nd at state. In his final state match Preciado lost in a narrow decision 6-4 to his Desert Pines opponent who eventually took 3rd place. This took away his opportunity for state 3rd or 4th place. Preciado is anxious for his senior year of wrestling, when he will come back with much more experience under his belt. He went to state with a region 4-0 record, and finishes with an overall season record of 32-14.

At 195 pounds junior Jaxon Clayton leaves state with a 3rd place. Clayton beat his first opponent with a pin in 1:25. He lost his second round in a major decision of 9-1, but came back hard with a pin of 4:51 and a pin of 2:16. Gentle and mild-mannered, Clayton is known for rapidly getting his opponent into a pinning position, and not letting them go until he has his pin or the referee blows the whistle for the end of the round. With his state 3rd place, Clayton finishes the wrestling season with an impressive 41-7 record. He is anxious to come back to the mat with much more experience in his senior year.

At 220 pounds junior Jeremy Coates finishes with 4th place at state. He won his first match by forfeit, but lost his second match by a tough decision of 2-9 to eventual 1st place winner Roumanos of Spring Creek. Coates soundly beat his third opponent by pin in 2:46 and in his final match lost to the eventual 3rd place winner Rogers of Churchill County. Coates looks forward to coming back strong and with very good experience in his senior year of wrestling. He finishes the season with an very good overall record of 30-9.

At 285 pounds, Jace Clayton is a junior with three strong years of experience. Jace, like his brother, Jaxon Clayton, is also known for rapidly getting his opponent on the mat, and on his back in a pinning position, and not letting up until he has his pin. Jace leaves state with a 2nd place. He beat his first opponent, Jacob Chaparian of Chaparral with a 25 second pin—Chaparian went on to eventually place 3rd. He beat his second opponent in 1:41, placing him squarely against Luis Cardenas of Lowry for the championship bout. Lowry opponent Cardenas, a good 35 pounds heavier than Jace, beat Jace by decision 9-3. Jace finishes his junior year with an overall season record of 38-8 and experience that will be tough to beat in his senior year.

At state, the Trojans also had, as region 5th place backup wrestlers, varsity wrestlers Antonio Sandoval, a sophomore at 126 pounds and Sam Brophy, a junior at 138 pounds, and junior varsity John Clark at 145 pounds. These wrestlers did not get an opportunity to wrestle.

A coaching veteran of 20 years, Coach Rieger looks forward from this great year of wrestling to the next school year with a team that will again be hard to beat. Many of the Trojan team will be returning seniors, and sound and experienced veteran wrestlers.

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