Washington wrestlers have strong showing at the regionals

Published 3:57 am Saturday, February 14, 2009

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
WINTERVILLE — Five Pam Pack grapplers put themselves in position to qualify for next weekend’s N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 3A State Wrestling Championships, while six others will have some work to do after the opening night of the NCHSAA Class 3A East Region Wrestling Championships at South Central High School in Greenville on Friday night.
Gabe Gardner (130), Darien Peele (152), Justin “Weasel” Moore (171), Johnnie Smallwood (189) and Marquin Hill (285) all advanced to the East Region semifinals after winning two rounds on Friday night. With a win in their next match, the five grapplers will each qualify for next weekend’s state tournament in Wake Forest.
Moore, the Pam Pack’s lone top seed, received an opening round bye then made quick work of South Central’s James Joyner in the quarterfinals to reach today’s semifinal round. Moore (42-1) will take on Jacksonville’s Terrance Simmons (23-6) in the semis.
Gardner, a No. 2 seed, improved to 44-6 on the year as he won by tech fall over Nash Central’s Joshua Taylor in the opening round, then scored a 2-1 decision over Havelock’s Michael Newby in round two. Today, he’ll take on South Central’s Josh Ward (26-21) in the semis.
Peele, who’s been battling an illness all week long, fought through his sickness to advance to the semis. The Pam Pack senior pinned Fike’s Mark Meyers in round one, then topped West Carteret’s Shawn Wilson by a 4-2 decision in the quarterfinals. Peele (40-11) will square off with West Brunswick’s Deven Ruane (32-6) in the semis.
Smallwood (34-5) advanced to the semifinals with a major decision over White Oak’s Dennis Miller in his opening match, then topped Havelock’s Thurman Green with a 15-8 decision in the quarterfinals. Today, he’s set to take on Currituck’s Seth Brinkley (49-5) in the semis.
Hill (30-5) pinned Southern Nash’s Phillip Dobbins in his opening match and followed with a 7-4 decision over Jacksonville’s Darnell Holder in round two. In today’s semis, Hill will take on South Central’s Nick Summrell.
Washington’s Daniel Garcia (112 pounds), Matthew Williamitis (125) and Michael Smith (145) each won their opening round match before falling in the quarterfinals. Those three, along with Timothy Betterton (130), Josh Stone (140) and Michael Goldberg (160) will begin their day in the consolation brackets.
Wrestling will resume at 9 a.m. today.