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Spring was season of great success at Pahrump Valley High School

Pahrump Valley High School just completed an outstanding spring sports season.

The Trojans placed third in golf and boys track and field while the baseball and softball teams each reached the four-team state tournaments. No school in the state did as well overall in those four sports. And, for good measure, the girls track and field team, while not placing high in the Class 3A championships, showed dramatic improvement in going from one point in 2017 to 23 this year.

“I think that our coaching staff is good about instilling competitiveness in our kids,” said Jason Odegard, Pahrump Valley’s athletic administrator. “I think that they help our kids to understand how to deal with both winning and losing. They know how to deal with situations appropriately.

“Our kids have a strong desire to be successful, and they expect themselves to be successful.”


The Trojans had an unusual year on the diamond, but they put things together in the second half, going 9-1 in the Sunset League to defend their title, placing second in the Class 3A Southern Region to reach the state tournament for the first time in 11 years and winning a game in that tournament.

“We had a lot of guys step up,” baseball coach Brian Hayes said. “Joey (Koenig) kind of took over at second. Chase McDaniel last year was solid on defense but couldn’t hit that well. This year we moved him into the No. 2 spot and he led the team in RBIs. Dylan Grossell really stepped up. He was an on-base machine in the second half of the season.”

Hayes had high praise for Bradda Costa, one of five seniors on the roster for the 20-17-1 Trojans, who went 11-3-1 at home.

“The one who stepped up the most for us was Bradda,” Hayes said. “Coming into the season he was our No. 2 pitcher, and he ended up being our center fielder. He really got it done at the plate, led the team in hits, runs and stolen bases the last two weeks of the season. He got an opportunity and took advantage of it. We couldn’t get him out of the lineup.”

McDaniel led the team in RBIs with 21, Grossell and Cyle Havel each had 19, while Garrett Lucas and Willie Lucas each had 18. Willie Lucas led the team in runs with 28, but eight players scored at least 19. Koenig led in steals with 21, and three others reached double figures.

Willie Lucas was the team’s top slugger, hitting .381 with 14 doubles and two triples, while McDaniel led the team in hits with 39. Garrett Lucas (.343), Grossell (.342), McDaniel (.339), Costa (.333), Anthony Charles (.333) and Havel (.325) each hit over .300.

“It was a combination of a lot of guys stepping up,” Hayes said. “By the end of the year, we didn’t have a guy in the lineup we were waiting on to get something done. They were all getting something done.”


Unlike the baseball team, the Trojans softball team did have experience reaching the state tournament. They did it last year, where they won a game, but this year Pahrump Valley was the first team knocked out of the four-team field, losing to the two Northern Nevada representatives.

”We just weren’t hitting,” coach Eli Armendariz said. “Fallon’s pitching was OK, and Lowry’s was all right, but it’s not like pitching we haven’t seen before. But they hit locations, and we just weren’t hitting.”

It was disappointing, especially since hitting was what got the Trojans into the state tournament. Facing Moapa Valley in an elimination game in the regions, the Trojans erupted for 13 runs in the third inning of what would become a 15-6 win.

“That was crazy,” Armendariz said. “We batted around two times in one inning.”

The Trojans didn’t need big bats to roll through the weak Sunset League. For the second year in a row, Pahrump Valley went 10-0 in the Sunset, winning every game by the mercy rule. But the Trojans did play some stronger schools in nonleague games, beating 2016 Class 3A state champion Fernley and 4A schools Legacy, Bonanza and Durango (twice) along the way.

The strength of the team was no mystery to its coach.

“Defense,” Armendariz said. “They played pretty good defense. Those two state games we had two, maybe three errors. Our defense was there, we just couldn’t hit the ball. That’s something the coaches and I will have to work on to get us past that.”

The roster only included four seniors, and only three started: pitcher Amaya Mendoza and outfielders Evandy Murphy and Kathy Niles. They will be missed, especially Mendoza, but the Trojans will be deep and experienced in 2018, led by Sunset League MVP Skyler Lauver.

“She was just consistent all year long,” Armendariz said. “She was our top hitter for average. She probably would have been the region MVP except we only had three of the coaches from our side of the region show up at the meeting and the other side had all six.

“I was telling them, ‘You didn’t vote for her, and now she’s going to tear you up next year.’ She’ll come back and be stronger, probably faster.”

Armendariz liked the way some of the young players developed, citing freshman Allyson Rily and sophomore Samantha Riding. Six sophomores and three freshmen were on the roster this season, so next year’s Trojans will have a nice mix of youth and experience.

And they will have the two state tournament defeats to motivate them.

“Absolutely they will have high expectations of themselves,” Armendariz said. “They’ll want to get back there and score some runs. We’ll definitely be OK because we’ll be a little bit older and a little bit stronger.”

Track and field

For the second consecutive year, Pahrump Valley’s boys track and field team finished third in the Class 3A state championships. But this time was better, as they crowned two state champions in Jeremy Albertson and Bryce Odegard.

Albertson, runner-up in the discus a year ago, won that event this year by almost 18 feet. And Odegard, who finished second in the 800 and 1,600 meters last year, won both this time around to add to the cross-country state title he won as a junior.

The 1,600 victory was a mild surprise, especially after a crushing disappointment in the 4 x 800 relay. Odegard teamed with his best friend, Layron Sonerholm, and their younger brothers, Grant Odegard and Michael Sonerholm, to set a Class 3A Southern Regional meet record in that event the week before but were nosed out by Elko in the states.

“The 800 was going to be a disappointment if I didn’t win that one,” Bryce Odegard said. “The mile, however, I was kind of feeling down because of the 4×8, and my dad came over and told me to let it go. ‘It’s the last race of your high school career, and don’t have any what-ifs. Leave it all out there.’ I don’t think anyone at the meet was expecting me to win that race. It felt really good because I didn’t really expect to win it either.

“The 800 is a crazy race. It’s a sprint, but nobody can sprint for half a mile. I’m glad I got a new PR this season, but it wasn’t where I was hoping to be in the end. I was hoping to be a second or two lower, but it helped me realize I need to set more realistic goals.”

Odegard does not consider his two state championships to be the highlight of the season.

“The best thing that happened this year was the 4×8 at regionals,” he said. “It was just kind of a shock when it happened, and surprises are always nice. I don’t know if I could actually express my emotions in words. Layron and I hang out every single day. We don’t always do anything, sometimes just sit on the couch and message each other on Instagram.

“Once Grant and Mikey got to high school, they were always hanging out, too. Obviously, both families have that brotherly bond. We all knew once Grant developed a huge lead on the third leg that we were going to win. It put us in tears.”

The two older brothers helped create a winning culture for the school’s cross-country team, and Odegard feels the same thing has happened with distance running during track and field season.

“I think especially for our distance team, it’s more of a culture thing,” he said. “Getting to run under coach (Craig) Rieger, I feel like Layron and I kind of built a little bit of respect for our distance program, and I think that’s why we get a lot of kids for distance. And we get tons of sprinters to come out; coach (Mike) Colucci does a great job with them. I think a lot of it is just being around the atmosphere of our team.”


A year ago, Pahrump Valley had one of the state’s best golfers in Austen Ancell, a former Class 3A state champion and two-time runner-up. And they placed fifth as a team in Class 3A.

This year, with Ancell playing for Regis University and two other seniors having graduated, the Trojans moved up to third.

While none of the Trojans contended for individual honors, Koby Lindberg finished 11th with a plus-23 total of 167 while Michael McDougall and Craig Moore were right behind with scores of 169 at the states.

An extensive junior golf program and the presence of Mountain Falls certainly helps the high school program, as does coach Bob Hopkins, who has been involved in junior golf for years.

“We have great coaches at our high school,” Lindberg said. “I wouldn’t want any other coach.”

The Trojans dominated Sunset League play, sweeping the five league matches by 57, 73, 79, 61 and 56 strokes. Six Pahrump Valley golfers were named to the all-league team.

And after a disappointing showing in the Class 3A Southern Regional in which they finished 84 strokes behind Boulder City, they finished just 32 strokes behind the Eagles in the Class 3A state championship.

McDougall, Kasey Dilger and Trevyn Wombaker all shot their low rounds of the season at the states, and only McDougall and Moore will graduate this year.

“Next year, Trevyn will be a junior and we’ll have five sophomores,” Hopkins said after the states. “The program’s heading in the right direction, and hopefully they all will play during the summer and we’ll get better.”

Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at trysinski@pvtimes.com On Twitter: @pvtimes

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