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Wrestling: Pahrump Valley sends 4 wrestlers to state tournament

Coby Tillery and Anthony Pearson liked their trip to the Class 3A State Wrestling Tournament last year so much, they’re going back. Donnie Miller, who went two years ago, and first-year wrestler Jared Mudge will be joining them.

Pahrump Valley High School will be sending four wrestlers to the tournament this weekend in Mesquite after each finished in the top four of his weight class at the Class 3A Southern Regional Tournament on Saturday at Chaparral High School.

Pearson (195) and Tillery (132) each finished third by winning in the consolation finals.

Pearson went 3-1, going into the third period during his loss in the semifinals Saturday morning. The junior easily clinched his berth in the state tournament by pinning Chaparral junior Nelson Rodriguez in 35 seconds in the consolation semifinals.

“I just went out there and was really aggressive,” Pearson said. “In my last match I feel like I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been, and it cost me. So this match I just went out there and was aggressive.”

The win put Pearson into the consolation final against Boulder City’s Rafe Escheveria, the same wrestler he had pinned during the second period of his quarterfinal bout. History repeated itself, and Pearson captured third place by finishing Escheveria in 2:47.

“I was aggressive with him,” Pearson said. “I was confident in my moves, and I ran him over.”

It looked as if Pearson had Escheveria where he wanted him early in the second period, but the Boulder City junior more or less rolled out of trouble. But Pearson was ready for that.

“Wrestling’s all about just having another move in place in case the first one fails,” he said after his win.

Tillery’s opening-round loss to SLAM Academy’s Ryan Hrckl sent him to the consolation rounds early, where he proceeded to win four consecutive bouts to take third place. Victories over freshman Iain McMurray of Moapa Valley, senior Jaylen McGee of Mojave, sophomore Ethan Workman of Virgin Valley and sophomore Justin Johnson of Virgin Valley took a combined 4:52.

The win over Workman locked up a spot in Mesquite for Tillery.

“I just worked my single leg,” Tillery said. “He was circling that way, so it was perfect, just wait until he took a step. I just got behind him, barred him, the bar slipped out so I switched to a half, and I pinned him.”

“I told him it takes a lot of heart to lose your first match and battle all the way back to third,” Pahrump Valley coach Craig Rieger said.

Tillery said he learned something from going to the state championships last year as a freshman.

“Not to overestimate my opponents,” he said. “This year I’m going to train a lot harder, be more conditioned before I go to state, work on my shots.”

Mudge will be making his first trip to state in his first year of wrestling, as the sophomore heavyweight Jared Mudge claimed fourth place. Like Tillery, he lost his opening match and had to wrestle his way back to a place in the state tournament.

“I figured I could get fourth place, third place pretty easily,” Mudge said. “I didn’t think I was the best one here, because it’s my first year wrestling, but I’m just a lot stronger than a lot of people.”

Mudge lost to eventual champion Kyle Hudson of Mojave, lasting longer than either of Hudson’s other two opponents. He then turned around needed just 50 seconds to send home senior Isiah Stroud of SLAM Academy before clinching a state berth with a pin of Sunrise Mountain sophomore James Bank in 1:32.

“I snapped him down, threw a front headlock twice,” Mudge said. “We went out of bounds, and we had to go back to the middle. I was able to take him down, put him in a bar and pinned him.”

It was a similar scenario the last time he wrestled Bank.

“The same thing, almost exactly,” Mudge said. “I put him in a bar, he started making noises and I pinned him.”

Miller, the lone senior making the trip to Mesquite, and one of only three seniors in the tournament for the Trojans, battled illness to scratch out the two wins he needed to advance.

“The thing about Donnie Miller is the last two days he’s been sick as a dog,” Rieger said. “He’s been hurting. I said hey, you qualified, now see if you can get healthy and do the job at the state tournament.”

“I actually am really sick right now,” Miller acknowledged. “I most likely have the flu.”

Miller opened the tournament Friday with a pin of Boulder City sophomore Jake Bradshaw in 1:31, then lost by tech fall to SLAM Academy sophomore Anthony Aniciete. He rallied to finish senior Jayzen Cabbab of Mojave in 2:24 to clinch a spot in the states.

“I just put him right on his back,” Miller said. “I wrestled him two other times. First time, I pinned him in like 30 seconds. Second time I wrestled him, it took until the third period.”

Miller had little left for the consolation final and settled for third after a 10-1 loss to Western sophomore Acencion Garcia.

The Trojans finished with 109 team points, nosing out Western by one-half point to finish sixth out of 10 teams. SLAM rolled to 266 points to cruise past Virgin Valley for second place. Also placing for Pahrump Valley were Chris Vega (120, fifth), Henry Amaya (138, sixth), Roman Roberts (160, fifth) and Tanner Hanks (285, sixth).

Amaya was hurt during his consolation semifinal against SLAM’s Brandon Corsaro and was looked at for a few moments on the mat before continuing. His limp was obvious, but he stayed off of his back and wound up losing 10-3, barely able to hobble over to the Bulls coaches after the bout. Amaya forfeited the fifth-place bout.

Vega suffered the most heartbreaking loss of the day for the Trojans. He surrendered 2 points at the end of the first period to Moapa Valley freshman Chance Houston and ended up going to overtime at 4-4. In the sudden victory period, the two rolled on the mat until Houston came out on top for the 2-point takedown. He went on to finish third, while Vega settled for fifth.

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