Pam Pack attackPublished 7:39pm Saturday, March 2, 2013
The Washington wrestling team wrapped up its season with a strong showing at the NCHSAA 3-A state meet as it placed two wrestlers in the top 10 while all five who made the trip to the Greensboro Coliseum finished 16th or better.
Junior Devon Van Cura shined in his first state appearance as he wrestled all the way up until the last day of the three-day event and finished in sixth place in the 160-pound division.
Fellow juniors Thomas Remick and Jason Gardner each made their second consecutive trip to the big dance and both improved on last year’s showing as Remick tied for eighth in the 152-pound classification and Gardner tied for 12th in the 120-pound division.
For seniors David Giordano and Ned Batts, it was the first time wrestling in the state meet and each gave a solid effort. Giordano scrapped his way to a tie for 12th-place in the 126-pound division while Batts ended his Pam Pack career tied forth 16th-place in the state in the 170-pound division.
“I was pleased how we wrestled,” Washington coach Daniel Riggs said. “Considering that it’s a much different atmosphere and some of these guys were making their first trip I think we did really well. Three of the five guys are coming back next season so it makes me really excited about the future.”
Van Cura, who battled back from an early season wrist injury and a midseason concussion, wasn’t fazed by the bright lights of the big stage and managed to pick up two wins in three days.
“Most people when they wrestle in the state tournament for the first time are nervous and the way he wrestled and acted it looked like he had been there before,” Riggs said. “He had a great season. I thought he did extremely well.”
Like Van Cura, Remick has fought through several injuries this season but he gave a gutsy effort at state as his eighth-place finish was a big improvement from last year when he placed 16th.
“It’s kind of tough when you miss nearly half the season due to knee and shoulder injuries but he really stepped up and wanted it,” Riggs said. “He’s only a junior and we looked forward to him having another shot at it next season.”
Gardner, who placed 16th in last season’s state meet, also made a big leap this year as he rose up to 12th.
“For Jason it was a big improvement from last year when he went 0-3,” Riggs said. “He went 1-2 this year. I’m sure he’s disappointed that he didn’t place but he got another year of experience and I’m sure it will payoff next year.”
Giordano made the most of his first and last appearance at state as the senior put forth some of his best efforts of the year to take 12th.
“David wrestled really well. It might have been the best I’ve seen him wrestle all season.” Riggs said. “He was pleased. He wrestled hard and went out on a good note.”
Wrestling inside Greensboro Coliseum can be a challenge for newcomers and Batts struggled early before adjusting and placing 16th. Overall it was a good year for the 170-pound senior.
“You could tell that it was his first time being at state. He was a little cautious and nervous,” Riggs said. “But, we were excited that he was able to make it to state as a senior. He really worked hard and deserved to get there.”