Penhollow named Pam Pack head wrestling coachPublished 12:28pm Saturday, July 26, 2014
Pam Pack wrestlers know Chris Penhollow as the coach who built the Farmville Central program from the ashes of its former self.
In three years, Farmville Central’s wrestling team went from pretenders to Eastern Plains Conference rivals and conference championship contenders. Penhollow awoke a program from a 30-year dormancy, a sleeping giant that finished first in the conference last season with a 24-7 record and two playoff wins.
This fall, Penhollow, a graduate of Washington High School (’85), will take over for Daniel Riggs as Pam Pack head wrestling coach, inheriting a program that has won over 120 matches in the last decade and manufactured three individual state champions, two state runner-ups and three dual-team state championship appearances.
“A lot of athletes say you need to go back and coach at the school you graduated from, so that was appealing,” Penhollow said. “To be honest, it was the strong tradition that Washington had that drew me in. The one year I got to wrestle there in the mid-‘80s, we were really strong. I remember wrestling when the gym was packed. It’s just a great team and a great community.”
The 46 year old also says that having Greg Millers’ P.S. Jones Middle School program sets a strong foundation for Washington wrestlers to later build upon in high school, a luxury Farmville Central did not have.
Penhollow took the opportunity last week at the East Carolina Wrestling Club’s summer camp to meet his future team and introduce himself to the parents.
“The guys are excited,” Penhollow said. “The one thing they never accomplished, but really want to, was win a conference championship. They’ve gotten close several times. I told they guys at camp, every year that will be our number one goal as a team, a conference championship. It’s a neat sport in that you can set some team goals and then you can set some individual goals.”
During his tenure at Farmville Central, Penhollow notched over 50 wins and sent three wrestlers to Greensboro. Last season, the Jaguars came just one point away from advancing to the eastern regional finals. While Penhollow admits that it will be unusual coaching against his former team, he has set the bar high for the Pam Pack program.
“With what we have set in place, this area and community is good enough to put together a team able to reach the regional finals and maybe a state championship in the dual teams within two years. I don’t think that’s unrealistic,” Penhollow said.
“I see it coming down to Farmville and Washington, the two strongest groups coming back. When we’re not wrestling those guys, I hope they have a great season. But we’ll load up and head over to Farmville and hopefully we will find a way where we have a shot at beating them.”
Assistant coach Mike Taylor will take over head coaching duties for the Jaguars.