The Pahrump Valley track and field programs are in different stages of their development, but high expectations exist for both this spring.
The boys have established themselves, winning a region championship last year and placing third in the state in Class 3A behind Sunrise Mountain and Mojave.
“The boys team’s strengths? They’re spread pretty well,” coach Fred Schmidt said. “Obviously our distance with Bryce and Grant Odegard, and our throws with Jeremy Albertson and Morgan White. They’re both returning, they were state qualifiers, as Bryce was.
“Our jumpers, we’ve got Jacob Sawin, Chance Farnsworth, Dylan Coffman … they’re all solid jumpers. In sprints, Dee Brown, David Roundy, Dylan Coffman again. We’ve got some boys who are going to come back and score for us.”
Several Trojans qualified for state last year, and three brought back medals: Bryce Odegard took second in the 800 meters (1 minute, 58.49 seconds), second in the 1,600 (4:36.90) and fourth in the 3,200 (10:00.47); then-senior Dylan Montgomery took fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.23 seconds); and Albertson took second in the discus (146 feet, 6 inches).
Several other returning athletes performed well in that meet, including Farnsworth placing fifth in the high jump, White taking sixth in the shot put and three members of the third-place 4×800 relay.
Schmidt is high on a couple of newcomers as well.
“Armani McGhee, who wrestled for us, and Brandon Bunker in the throws,” he said. “They’re big, strong young men, and I can see them doing some good things for us.”
The girls, on the other hand, managed exactly one point in the state Class 3A championships: Eliana Datillo qualified for state in the high jump last season. “We feel that experience will help her to focus on qualifying this season as well,” Schmidt said.
Yet Schmidt believes the girls are ready to take a major step forward as a program. Among the other top returnees for the Trojans are sophomores Diamond Sonerholm (800, 1,600), Jazmyne Turner (100, 200) and Deja Jackson (shot put, discus); junior Katherine Goodman (800); and seniors Cynthia Martin (400) and Jessica Turner (shot put, discus).
“These girls all performed well at the regional meet last year,” Schmidt said. “All but one (Datillo) fell just short of the transfer spot to make it to the state championships.”
Schmidt said sprints are a strength of the girls team but added that he sees a lot of potential in the throws.
“Jessica Turner was a 30-foot shot putter last season, and we are looking to add another 10 feet by regionals this year,” he said. “Deja Jackson is another solid performer. Last year, as a freshman she was one of our top three throwers most of the season. By the end of this season, she has the potential of adding 30 feet to her discus throw and seven to 10 feet to her shot distance.
“We anticipate these ladies and several other returners to make a big statement at regionals this season.”
Depth is not a problem at Pahrump Valley, as Schmidt said there has been an average of 112 bodies in practice every day between the boys and girls teams. And he sees dedication in those numbers.
“We have young men and ladies who will run their hearts out for you,” Schmidt said. “We have a lot of athletes, and they are buying into this coaching staff’s idea of hard work and focus. Our philosophy is, “The pain of hard work is temporary. Championships last a lifetime.”
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