WHS set to honor Hill

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Washington wrestler Marquin Hill jumps into the arms of Pam Pack wrestling coach Daniel Riggs (standing) after winning his second straight NCHSAA 3A state championship. On Friday night, Hill will be inducted into the WHS Walk of Fame, along with Evelyn Ewing, Mark Gray and the 1951-52 boys basketball team. (Contributed Photo)

Marquin Hill still remembers his first match as a member of the Pam Pack. He was freshman, fairly new to the wrestling scene and had to face an opponent that placed in the top three in the state the previous year. Hill would lose the match, by just a one point, but a lot was gained that day.
For Hill, going up against one of the best the state had to offer and holding his own went a long way to boost his confidence. The match also lent some credibility to Washington head wrestling coach Daniel Riggs’ prediction that one day he could be a state champion. While Riggs’ eye for talent is impeccable, his prognostication was a little bit off. Hill would win two NCHAA 3A state championships, a scholarship to Pembroke and on Friday night he will be inducted into the Washington Walk of Fame.
“I remember my freshman year he would tell me that I was going to be a state champion,” Hill said. “He didn’t say two-time state champion, but he did say that I would be a state champ.”
Riggs said Hill handled himself like a champ from Day 1.
“The first day that he stepped into practice, usually you see kids come in and they’re nervous and timid, but he came in with his mind and vision set on one goal: to the state title,” Riggs said.
While Hill has a big, strong frame like most heavyweights, he is phenomenal athlete that who is lightening-quick.
“Most heavyweights are the guys who are just pushing and trying to do the tossing and everything else, but from wrestling (Justin) Weasel (Moore) and some of the lighter guys he improved his quickness,” Riggs said. “This year you could really see how he’s grown and he was able to show it on the mat.”
After that bout his freshman year Hill would go on to compile a 168-26 record, falling one win shy of Justin “Weasel” Moore’s school record 169 wins.
After his sophomore season the 285-pound heavyweight was unstoppable as he went 47-2 as a junior to win his first state title and followed that up with a remarkable 49-0 record as a senior.
Hill’s first state title locked up an automatic bid into the Washington Walk of Fame, but his second state crown cemented his status as truly one of the best athletes ever to don a Pam Pack singlet.
“It means a lot to me to make it in the Walk of Fame, there’s not a lot of people that make that,” Hill said.
Hill will be enshrined into the Washington Walk of Fame Friday night during halftime of the Pam Pack’s battle with Jacksonville, along with fellow inductees Mark Gray, Evelyn Ewing and the 1951-52 men’s basketball team. It will be the second straight year a Pam Pack wrestler will receive the honor immediately after he graduated.
Last season, Moore was inducted just a few months after his graduation and this year Hill will do the same.
“It means a whole lot, especially being the second straight wrestler to do it,” Hill said. “To have two wrestlers make it in a row is pretty big.”
Riggs agreed.
“I’m pretty excited for both those guys … It jus shows that the program is headed in the right direction,” Riggs said. “It’s a credit to those guys for coming in and working hard and giving me 100 percent every day.”