This year, as with last year, Pahranagat Valley wrestling has no seniors, but that doesn’t mean they will be short on talent or experience.
Coach Brad Loveday, in his 17th season, said junior Jeremy Minick returns. He was the Division IV state runner up at 126-pounds, and steps up to 138-pounds this season.
Junior Chandler Palmer was southern regional champ in 2012 at 171-pounds and plans to go at 205-pounds this season.
Sophomore Mateo Linares wrestles in the 220-pound class this year. Sophomore Oscar Heredia is likely to go at 120, and junior Austin Horrocks at 195-pounds. All three men finished in the top four at the regional meet last year.
Loveday said while the team does not have any seniors, “We are a fairly experienced team, the whole crew. We have only one freshman, Danny Heredia, but he has had a lot of youth wrestling experience.”
Pahranagat Valley began the season at the Moapa Valley-Faith Lutheran Duels in Overton Dec. 3. Loveday said Moapa always fields a good team and Faith Lutheran is the odds on favorite to win the state Division III team state championship, after a fourth-place finish last season.
“A couple of big schools right off the bat,” he said. “It will be interesting to see, since we are still in football mode.” Most of the wrestlers were also on the Panthers state championship football team.
The Panthers lost their first meet of the season to Faith Lutheran by a score of 66-18, but did have individual wins from Jeremy Minick (138), Bailey Peck (170), and Mateo Linares (220).
Pahranagat Valley, as usual, have only two home meets, the Panther Duels Dec. 12 with Lincoln County and Beaver Dam of Littlefield, Ariz., and the Panther Invitational Jan. 10, which Loveday thinks will not have as many teams as it has in the past because of scheduling conflicts. “We usually try to have it the first Friday after Christmas break, like it is this year. Last year it was moved into December because of the way Christmas fell then. So this year, our tournament won’t have quite as many teams as in the past, maybe about 11. We might pick one or two more as the time gets closer.”
The Division III and IV Southern Regional tournament, the qualifier for state, will be held in Alamo Feb. 15.