Last year, Pahranagat Valley finished fourth in the state 1A-2A wrestling championship with 84 points.

Jesse Jones and Reece Thornton were both state runners-up at the meet, Jones at 132 pounds and Thornton at 195.

Coach Brad Loveday enters his 21st season for the Panthers. He has four returning lettermen including Jones, senior Jon-Michael Stewart, and two sophomores, Hagen Harris and Tayt Leavitt.

While Jones is returning for his junior year, Thornton, another junior, unfortunately suffered a football-season-ending ACL tear and will be out recovering for the remainder of the school year.

Loveday said Jones will likely step up to the 145-pound class this year. Leavitt (220) and Stewart (285) both took fourth place at the state meet and Harris (106) was a quarterfinalist.

He said, “These four will be the leaders of a group that lacks numbers but doesn’t lack talent. We don’t fill out the entire roster, but the kids we have will be tough.”

Last season the Panthers won the Class 2A Southern Region meet for the first time since 2008 with 168.5 points. That was 12.5 points more than second-place Tonopah.

Their fourth-place finish at the state meet was the team’s best finish since being the state runner-up in 2008. Pahranagat’s last individual state champion was Jeffrey Jones (113) in 2012.

The season opens this year with the Boulder City Duals this Saturday with Rancho, Pahrump Valley, Pahranagat, Moapa Valley, Laughlin, Lake Mead, and SLAM Academy.