Courtesy Photo
Pahranagat’s Jesse Jones wins the 140-pound class at the Chaparral Invitation Wrestling Tournament in Las Vegas.

Pahranagat Valley junior Jesse Jones is positioning himself as a strong contender for a high finish in the 138 or 145-pound weight class at the February state tournament in Winnemucca.

Jones won the 140-pound class at the prestigious 27-team Chaparral Invitational in Las Vegas, Jan. 18-19.

The Class 2A runner-up in 2018 at 132 pounds as a sophomore, Jones dominated his weight class at Chaparral.

“And he’s going up against some of the better wrestlers from larger schools in the south,” said Panther head coach Brad Loveday. “Every week he improves and is getting tougher and tougher, just like his older brothers, tough as nails.” Loveday also coached Jones’ four older brothers, all of whom were either state champions or runners-up for the Pahranagat.

“A strong contender this year as well, and depending on which weight he goes, 138 or 145,” Loveday said, “the defending state champs in those weight classes are still there, too.”

Those champions are Jayce Leyva, Pershing County, at 138, or Bobby Kester, Battle Mountain, at 145. “Both of them are really good, so Jesse will face a strong challenge,” Loveday noted.

Both Jones and Jon Michael Stewart won two matches on Friday at the Chaparral tournament, putting them into their respective weight class championship brackets for Saturday’s action.

Wrestlers who were 0-2 or 1-2 the first day were placed in the Hard Luck Tourney on Saturday.

Jones began the tournament with a technical fall over Chris Avila (Coronado) and won his second match by fall over Logan Schoffel (Green Valley).

He won his quarterfinal match by fall over Spencer Lane (Pahrump Valley) and took an 8-1 decision over Case Crandall (Virgin Valley) in the semifinals. In the championship match, Jones dominated in defeating Cole Kazel (Foothill) 13-2.

Stewart (287) won his first match in the tournament by fall over Jarett Jackman (Moapa Valley) and the second match on Friday by a 5-1 decision over Armani McGhee (Pahrump).

Loveday said, “Jon is really improving as the season has progressed.”

On Saturday, as he continued in the championship rounds, he lost in the quarterfinals by fall to Izaiah Ieremia (Centennial).

But in the consolation round 4, he took a 5-3 decision over J.R. Tulimasealii (Bonanza), then lost in the next round by fall to Jose Lara (Sunrise Mountain).

Other Panther wrestlers on Friday included Hagen Harris (108), Davin Minick (147), Jacob Griffin (172), and Tayt Leavitt (222).

Harris was 1-2, Minick 0-2, Jacob Griffin 0-2, and Tayt Leavitt 1-2.

At the Saturday Hard Luck tournament, Leavitt took first place, Harris and Griffin took second, and Minick was third.

Harris won by fall over Airianna Gilson (Chaparral), then lost a 5-2 decision to Joel Monzon (Centennial).

Minick lost both his Saturday matches to falls by Daniel Quintanilla (Cimarron-Memorial) and Cooper Hatch (Arbor View).

Griffin defeated Andy Cespedes (Cimarron-Memorial) on a 5-2 decision, then lost the first-place match by an 8-4 decision to Gavin Beaman (Arbor View).

Leavitt won his matches in the Hard Luck tourney by fall over Toban Garcia (Western) and Jesus Castro (Sunrise Mountain).

This week, Pahranagat participates in the 2A Southern Division duals on Jan. 24 in Tonopah which will seed the wrestlers for the Southern Regional tournament, Feb. 1-2, at Indian Springs.

The state tournament will be Feb. 8-9 in Winnemucca.