After sitting out the first six weeks of wrestling season, Pahrump Valley High School junior 120-pounder Donnie Miller was eager to get back on the mat.
“I’ve had a hernia and just getting out of that,” Miller said Thursday after the Trojans routed Mojave 55-21. “I currently still do, but they call it a bulging ligament. It’s close to a hernia, but it’s not exactly the same thing. It just bothered me right at the end there, but it feels fine.”
At the end was when Miller was at his best against the Rattlers. Miller and junior Jaylen McGee were locked in a tight battle, with McGee taking a 2-1 lead after the first period. Starting on top in the second, Miller recorded two near-fall points, but McGee managed an escape and a takedown to take a 5-3 lead. Stalling calls made it even going into the third.
“It was close,” Miller said. I should have gotten him in the beginning. I just kept on flipping him on his back, but I wasn’t finishing.”
But the third was all Miller. Tied at 6-6 in the final minute, Miller took over, getting a takedown and twice coming close to recording the pin. But the six near-fall points were enough for a 15-6 major decision that gave the Trojans a commanding 16-0 lead.
“Two days ago I had the stomach flu,” Miller said. “I think I did all right for not really having the conditioning yet.
“He wasn’t a bad wrestler, but he definitely wasn’t conditioned. I was surprised I out-conditioned him.”
The Trojans won the first seven bouts, including two forfeits and three falls, to lead 37-0 before the Rattlers got on the board. In fact, from 152 on, the Rattlers actually outscored the Trojans 21-18.
“Truthfully, I was impressed with how tough Mojave was,” Pahrump Valley coach Craig Rieger said. “Yeah, we did get some pins, but that’s a pretty solid team. I know the score doesn’t say it and we got some pins early, but I was impressed. I really was.”
Rieger also was impressed with several of his wrestlers, noting that Isaak Cruz at 145 and Tristan Maughan at 160 were both solid on their feet before recording pins. But he seemed especially happy to see successful outings from seniors Spencer Lane at 138 and Christian Monje at 220.
Lane, in his first season on varsity, was dominant against Marcos Salas, winning by a somewhat deceptive 4-0 score.
“I went out there and he tried to shoot on me, and I stuffed his head into the ground,” Lane said matter-of-factly. “I was trying to work my move. My move is the chicken wing, and I was working it and working it. He’s a really strong guy, but I kept working it, and at one point I almost got my chicken wing on him and I got a few points from that.
Salas chose bottom for the second period, and Lane went back to work.
“At one point my arm slipped and he caught me and he almost spun around on me to get back points on me, so what I did was spin around on him,” Lane said. “But what he did was catch my arm, so I did this move called the sucker drag. I was surprised I did it, because I didn’t think it would work.”
Lane said the third period was similar to the second.
“Almost the same thing happened, but this time I almost got a half-nelson on him,” he recalled. “I almost had him pinned, but he got out of it. Luckily, I got him back on his back. And soon enough the round ended.
“I was in control most of the way, and I knew he was going to beat him.”
A few bouts later, Monje was showing off the effects of improved conditioning.
“I’ve wrestled six or seven matches, and I’ve lost all of them except this one,” said Monje, who needed just 1:46 to pin Nicholas Service. “I had to work for the first month, so I didn’t have good conditioning, but then over the break I worked really hard. It does feel good.”
As for the bout, Monje said it was pretty straightforward.
“Knowing when to throw him, positioning him good and just catching him when he wasn’t expecting it,” said Monje, who was tied 2-2 with Service before he closed in on the fall.
Monje also is acutely aware of how fast the wrestling season goes by.
“Every league match counts for our seeding for regionals, and it helps you get to state faster if you get more wins,” he said. In wrestling, individual records in Sunset League matches will determine where each wrestler is seeded in the Class 3A Southern Region tournament Feb. 1-2 at Moapa Valley High School in Overton.
“We only have two more conference duals,” Rieger noted. “Next Wednesday we’re at Del Sol, and the following week we’re home against Western on Senior Night.”
Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at email@example.com On Twitter:@PVTimesSports
Trojans 55, Rattlers 21
103: Mason Prunchak (PV) won by forfeit. 112: Garrett Cosper (PV) won by forfeit. 120: Donnie Miller (PV) major decision over Jaylen McGee 15-6. 126: Coby Tillery (PV) pinned Jayzen Cabbab 2:22. 132: Henry Amaya (PV) p. Joseph Lojero 1:16. 138: Spencer Lane (PV) decision over Marcos Salas 4-0. 145: Isaak Cruz (PV) p. Jayson Asas 3:23. 152: Treyton Keller (M) d. Dylan Grossell 8-2. 160: Tristan Maughan (PV) p. Andrew Juarez 3:10. 170: Sabastiem James (M) p. Ty Hansen 1:35. 182: Dylan Wright (PV) p. Mekhi Brown 1:18. 195: Anthony Jones (M) p. Anthony Pearson 3:24. 220: Christian Monje (PV) p. Nicholas Service 1:46. 285: Ivan Parra (M) p. Ronald Cross 3:39.