The Pahrump Valley Times looks back at the top sports stories in chronological order.
Trojans wrestling team wins state
At the start of the year the Trojans matmen took their first wrestling state title since 2008.
The Trojans wrestling team won the Nevada Division I-A State Wrestling title. Pahrump Valley was definitely the favorite going into the Southern Nevada Division I-A Tournament. The team had finished in league undefeated and had a veteran core of boys with loads of wrestling experience. The boys had won the regional for the second year in a row with 239.5 points to Virgin Valley’s 195.5. Pahrump sent 11 wrestlers to the state finals.
The team had locked in the state title after the semifinals. They had figured they would have had to lose all their matches after the state semifinals in order for the team to lose the title and that was not going to happen. It was Trojans coach Craig Rieger’s second team state title; his first was in 2008.
At the state tournament, Jax and Jace Clayton made history by both winning an individual state title. At the time, no other identical twins had ever done that. Jax took the 195-pound title and Jace took the 285-pound title. Jax said at the time that he was all nerves.
“It was a lot of anticipation building up to it but I got a pin the first period against my South Tahoe opponent.” The pin put him in the semifinals. At the time Jace said all the harder opponents seemed to be in the South. “We worried a bit the first day but we went in there knowing the South would help us out a bit,” Jace said.
If you would have asked the father of the twins, Joe Clayton, if both his kids would have won the state title prior to the finals he would have replied, “I knew they would both have a shot at state champions, but the odds of having twins win a state championship were pretty slim. If you told me that I was going to have twin state champions I wouldn’t have believed you.”
Build it and they will come
Last winter the high schools were not the only ones making the headlines in the wintertime. The town of Beatty made the news by announcing the construction of some new mountain bike trails. The trails in themselves were new, but the bigger news was that the trail builder, David Spicer wanted to not only build new trails, but wanted to transform the region by building over 300 miles of new trails to bring new money to the region in the form of tourists and mountain bike riders.
Spicer formed a nonprofit known as STORM-OV which stands for Saving Toads thru Off-road Racing, Ranching and Mining in Oasis Valley. The plan is to build an extensive network of trails that will eventually connect Beatty with Death Valley. The same plan transformed Fruita, Colorado and the mountain bike tourists bring in millions of dollars to that region. Spicer hopes to do the same thing in Beatty. He got the ball rolling in February of last year with construction of seven miles of new trails on his ranch. The town also plans on revamping businesses in the town to make it more bike-friendly.
In the spring, as Nye County warmed up, the surprises kept on coming to the Trojans in the form of champions. Sophomore golfer Austen Ancell had a slow start in March, but his game kept on improving. The Pahrump team was full of newbies and was not expected to do much, let alone put out a champion golfer. But the team made the cut and actually made it to the state tournament, finishing fourth out of six teams.
Ancell led the team all year long and became the first individual state golf champion for Pahrump.
The champion played his best golf of the year at Truckee, California at the Grays Crossing Golf Course.
Ancell was playing with some of the top golfers in the state. He was golfing with Luke Logan, the 2013 state champion from Boulder City and it came down to Logan and Ancell on the second day of the tournament. Logan had just topped Ancell at the Regional to take his fourth Division I-A regional title.
At the 13th hole on the second day, Ancell shot his worst hole, shooting a nine, which gave Logan a four-stroke lead. But Ancell didn’t lose his cool, he pushed hard and came back from behind. Ancell shot four of five birdies on the last five holes.
“I have never seen a Trojans golfer do that before,” Trojans coach Bob Hopkins said.
Ancell retook the four strokes he lost and held onto a one-stroke lead through the 18th hole to win the title.
The end of an era
The spring of last year ended an era in Pahrump when former colleague, Don McDermott passed away. McDermott had been the sports editor at the Pahrump Valley Times from 2001 until 2012. He then worked for the Pahrump Mirror almost until his passing. McDermott was brought down by age. He had worked in the industry as a journalist for 57 years.
Writing was his first love and it was apparent by how much time he spent at the paper. People just knew that writing was his life. He was a career newspaperman and worked for newspapers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, North Carolina and finally Nevada.
Summertime and the seed is growing …
The Beatty football field once again made the headlines for not growing. The school board last year voted 6-1 to pay $70,000 to reseed the Beatty football field during the spring by hydroseeding the field. This was the second season in a row Beatty High School football played all their home games on their baseball field.
It was also the third attempt in three years at seeding the field. Last year in July all the seed washed away in the monsoonal rains. Cameron McRae, maintenance and operations director for the Nye County School District, said he had seeded the field in 2008 and it was probably done a few times prior to that.
So why try to seed again? The school district is between a rock and a hard place. The football team needs a place to play. With the bad soil conditions, artificial turf would be the ideal choice but it is too expensive.
The grass should be ready to play on in the fall of 2016.
The summer brought forth a different champion
Pahrump’s own mixed martial arts champion Brandon Schneider won his first amateur title with the Tuff-N-Uff organization. Schneider beat Mike Florio in a three-round bout which came down to a decision to win the light-heavyweight championship. This was the second win in a row for Schneider.
The fighter was raised in Pahrump and graduated from Pahrump Valley High School in 2004.
Off-road racing returns to Pahrump Nugget
Off-road racing returns to the valley as Casey Folks, owner of Best in the Desert, resurrects the Pahrump Nugget 250.
Folks announced during the summer that his company will be coming back to Pahrump after an absence of eight years. The race will be held in Dec. 3, 2016.
“It’s great to be coming back to Pahrump,” Folks said.
According to Russ Turner, spokesperson for Best in the Desert, the last Vegas to Reno race to start in Pahrump was in 2007 and the last Terrible’s Town 250 was also in 2007.
SNORE had a race called the Nugget 250 in 2010 and that was the last big off-road race Pahrump had.
Folks also announced that the start of the 2016 Best in the Desert Vegas to Reno race will start in Alamo this year, not Beatty, and will overnight in Tonopah and then conclude in Reno. This is all due to the 20th anniversary celebration of the race. Folks said the race will start in Beatty again in 2017.
During the summer Adam Gent took over the Trojans football program, bringing new hope for years to come.
Gent comes from a high school in Provo, Utah where he was an assistant coach. Gent played football for UNLV, where he was a linebacker.
Although he has never lived in Pahrump, Gent does have family in Pahrump. HIs brother is a former assistant district attorney and he has another brother who teaches for Nye County.
Gent replaced three-year head Trojans coach Joe Clayton. In his first year Gent went 3-6 overall and 2-5 in league.
Odegard leads the pack
Sophomore Bryce Odegard led the boys cross-country team to their first state meet appearance since 2002. Odegard took fourth at the state meet and also made the Review-Journal All-State cross-country team.
He finished second in the Southern Region in 17 minutes, 49 seconds. Odegard finished at the Division 1-A state meet in 17 minutes, 34 seconds, helping the Trojans finish sixth overall.
He also won six races during the season.
The Pahrump boys finished as follows: Layron Sonerholm finished 33rd (18:54), Sergio Rincon-Sanchez finished 42nd (19:49), Cole Goodman finished 45th (20:10), Stephen Thelaner finished 49th (20:48), Christopher Geer finished 51st (22:00) and Dylan Montgomery finished 52nd (22:22).
New golfer brings new hope to team
Trojans freshman Makalea Petrie finished in the middle at the state golf championships, finishing 22nd out of 45 golfers after two rounds of golf.
The two-day golf tournament was played at the par 72 Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City. Petrie carded a 104 in the first round and a 108 in the second round for a total score of 212.
Trojans coach Bob Hopkins said it was a great learning experience for the young golfer.
“She was the first female golfer that I have ever seen that had no penalty strokes during a state championship tournament,” he said. “Petrie will be an even better golfer if she works hard during the offseason on her short game. She could also shave off a lot of points by just improving her putting and chipping.”
Hopkins said he can build a new team around her.
Contact Sports Editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org.