Pam Pack’s Goldberg wrestling with a heavy heart

Published 4:28 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
Few kids have had to endure the kind of pain that Washington junior Michael Goldberg experienced last fall.
Even less have found the strength and courage to persevere.
On November 3, 2008 Michael Goldberg’s twin brother Matthew, a special needs child bound to a wheelchair since birth, passed away at the age of 16 after suffering septic shock.
The loss of his twin brother was tough on the Pam Pack grappler. Matthew and Michael had always been close, and now to wakeup everyday without Matthew by his side was devastating for Michael.
To this day, Goldberg still gets choked up when he talks about the loss of his brother. But at the same time, he knows he must go on and live life to its fullest. Matthew would want it that way.
This season Goldberg, the Pam Pack’s 160-pound grappler, decided to wrestle in memory of his brother.
It was an up and down season for Goldberg as he posted an 11-10 mark during the regular season, then placed fourth among eight wrestlers at the 2009 Coastal Conference Wrestling Championships.
But on Saturday, Goldberg turned his season around.
After losing his opening match at the regional tournament by a 5-2 decision to Northern Nash’s Kris Horton, the Washington junior took to the mat with a heavy heart on Saturday, knowing that he had to win his next four matches to qualify for the state meet.
The odds were against him. Still Goldberg, who was seeded 10th in the 16-man bracket, was determined to make states in Matthew’s memory.
Goldberg quickly dispersed of Fike’s Joshua Andrews in the consolation bracket opener, then beat West Craven’s Thomas June 9-5 in the second round.
In the consolation quarterfinals, Goldberg squeaked out a 5-4 victory over P.J. Jones of Nash Central.
He was now one win away from becoming a state qualifier.
In the consolation semifinals, Goldberg fell behind early to West Brunswick’s Antuan Miller (19-7), the tournament’s No. 3 seed. But half way through the match, Goldberg still hung close, trailing just 5-2.
He could almost smell state’s and appeared to dial it up a notch. He wrestled with anger and aggression and began to wear down Miller. Then, late in the third period, Goldberg scored a reversal that gave him a 7-6 lead in the final 30 seconds.
Goldberg continued to ride Miller the rest of the way and when the final whistle sounded, Goldberg pumped his fist towards the sky. He was going to states.
Washington coach Dan Riggs was certainly proud as well.
Goldberg (15-12), who finished fourth at the East Region tourney, will square off with Northern Vance’s Charles Royester (29-4) in the first round of the state tournament on Friday. Royester was the champion from the Mid-East Region.
Even though the odds are stacked against him once again this weekend, Goldberg is going into the NCHSAA Class 3A State Championship Wrestling Tournament with his brother in his heart and high hopes on his mind.