Moore eyeing state title

Published 5:01 am Friday, February 20, 2009

Sports Writer
At first take, one may construe Washington junior Justin “Weasel” Moore as cocky and conceited, especially if you run into him when he’s decked out in his wrestling garb.
But once you get to know the Pam Pack grappler, with his quirky attitude and bright smile, it’s easy to see that he’s just a young man who radiates confidence, whose focus and determination to succeed are unparalleled on the mat.
Call it cocky, call it confidence, either way, there’s no denying that the kid can wrestle.
Look at his track record.
The Pack junior, who is currently ranked No. 2 in Class 3A behind Mooresville senior Chris Hill (36-1), is 121-16 in his three year high school career, including 43-1 this season. He’s on pace to shatter Gerald Lawrence’s school record of 139 wins and he’s already a two-time conference winner, a two-time region champ and three-time state qualifier.
Moore’s only loss this season came to South Johnston’s Raheem Simmons (30-5), the No. 4 ranked 171-pounder in Class 3A. Moore was leading Simmons 8-0 when he made a tactical error late in the period and Simmons came away with the pin.
While a lot of wrestler’s would’ve have been demoralized to lose when leading by a huge margin, Moore chalked it up as a lesson learned.
Mistakes are few and far between for the Pack star. He’s rattled off 15 straight wins since the loss and has looked unbeatable in doing so.
Last week, Moore breezed through the 171-pound bracket to win the regional championship. The Pack star feels like he’s on top of his game right now.
Coach Riggs agrees and thinks his junior grappler has a good shot to become the first Washington wrestler since 103-pounder Russ Chesson in 1997 to win a state title, when he takes to the mat this weekend in Winston-Salem.
Weasel is wrestling the best that I’ve seen him wrestle all year,” Riggs said. “In my opinion, it’s his title to win and his title to lose. If he wrestles the way he’s been recently, he’s got a great shot to win a state title.”
If Moore pulls it off, he’d join Chesson, a three-time state champ from 1995-97, and Larry Harris, a two-time champ in 1987 and 1988, as the only Washington High School wrestlers to win an individual state championship.
Moore’s quest for a state title will begin this morning against Rockingham County senior Colby Finchum (26-11) in the first round of the NCHSAA Class 3A State Wrestling Championships at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem.