Moore in title contention at state meet

Published 5:17 am Saturday, February 21, 2009

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM — Junior Justin “Weasel” Moore remains in contention for a state title and four other Pam Pack grapplers are still in the medal hunt after day one of the 2009 NCHSAA Class 3A State Wrestling Championships at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem.
Moore (45-1) made quick work of Rockingham County’s Colby Finchum in round one, pinning the Raiders grappler in 32 seconds. In the quarterfinals, Moore maneuvered all over the mat and wore down Erwin senior Hunter Scott for an 11-3 major decision.
Moore will meet up with Tuscola’s David Atwood (41-5) in today’s semifinal match.
Pam Pack heavyweight Marquin Hill also won his first round match before suffering a gut-wrenching defeat in the quarterfinals.
Hill (32-7) overpowered Webb’s Brent Adcock in the tournament opener, pinning the Warriors’ big man in 3:38. In the quarterfinals, Hill gave up a couple of early points to Trinity’s Garrett Frank then rallied late, only to fall 2-1. Hill will now have to work his way back through the consolation brackets in an attempt to bring home a bronze medal. Today, he’ll face off against South Central’s Nick Summrell (40-18) in the second round of the consolation bracket.
Hill will be joined in the second round of consolations by teammates Gabe Gardner (130), Darien Peele (152) and Johnnie Smallwood (189), who all dropped their opening match, but rebounded with victories in the first round of consolations.
Gardner (47-7) fell to Trinity’s Shane Shepherd - ranked fifth among Class 3A 135-pounders - by a score of 5-1 in the opening round, but rebounded with an impressive 17-second pin of Bartlett Yancey’s Cody Miles in the first round of the consolation bracket.
The Pam Pack senior has a date with R.S. Central’s Jack Stephens (40-9) in today’s second round consolations.
Pam Pack senior Peele (41-13) lost an 11-3 major decision to Western Guilford’s Simone Santos to open his day, but advanced to the second round of consolation by default over Moorehead’s Tyler Bruton.
Peele is scheduled to face off with Eddy Roman (53-9) of Southwestern Randolph to open his day.
Washington senior Johnnie Smallwood (37-7) suffered a narrow defeat to Anson County’s Jamie Bennett in Friday’s round, dropping a 5-4 decision. However, the Pack’s 189-pounder extended his high school wrestling career one more day by squeaking out a 6-4 decision over Antonio Singletary of Southern Lee.
Today, Smallwood will have revenge on his mind as he takes on South Central’s Matt Stoeckle (44-11) in a second round consolation bout. Smallwood is 2-1 against the Falcons’ junior this season, but was pinned by Stoeckle in the finals at last week’s regional championships.
Pack junior Michael Goldberg (15-14) was the only Washington grappler eliminated on the opening day after going 0-2 in his first state tournament experience.
Wrestling will resume at 8:30 a.m. today at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.