Washington to host dual team playoffs
Published 5:57 pm Monday, February 1, 2016
Washington wrestling has come far in the last couple of seasons. The team has hit all its benchmarks for the regular season after repeating as 2-A Eastern Plains Conference champions last week. This past Saturday saw Austin Coward, Andrew Ferguson, D.K. Credle and Simeon Pope all win individual conference championships in their respective weight classes, too.
Sights are now set on the postseason. Coach Chris Penhollow received an email Monday morning informing him that the Pam Pack will have the honor of hosting the 2-A dual team playoffs on Tuesday.
It means a bit more to the team than simply not having to travel. The matches will be held at P.S. Jones due to the Southwest Edgecombe vs. Washington basketball games also slated for that evening. P.S. Jones’ wrestling team has had incredible success this season, too. Seeing some postseason action take place at their home could help the Pam Pack make an impression on the middle school standouts. That, in turn, should help solidify Washington continue to evolve into a perennial powerhouse.
“It’s another way that we can get a little recognition to the sport and generate some interest,” Penhollow said. “A lot of the parents have middle school kids wrestling. It will give them a chance to see a match at the varsity level. … They can see what’s in store the next four years after they come here. Anytime we can do something like that and get exposure for the program, it’s a good thing.”
Washington will face Holmes and then face the winner of Croatan and Bartlett Yancey. It will be an exciting event for just about everyone, including those who have yet to attend one this season.
“My wife, I always use her as an example,” Penhollow said. “She’s not a real big enthusiast of athletic events. She likes wrestling because it’s fast paced and the match is usually done in an hour. Anyone that comes out to check it out will see some good action.”
Washington has seen Holmes this season and handled them with relative ease. Croatan should be able to cruise past Bartlett-Yancey on the other side of the four-team pod. Washington vs. Croatan is likely to be the showdown to end the evening, with the winner moving on to Thursday.
“We’re going to have our hands full. (Croatan) won the east last year and wrestled for a state championship,” Penhollow said. “They’ve won several state championships as a team and they’re in the thick of it every year.
“I’ve spent the last two weeks looking at matchups, looking where we could shift people. They don’t have a lot of weaknesses and they’re not going to give up any forfeits. It’s going to come down to guys that we expect to win and if they can get a pin and get us six points and guys that are outmanned for us, can they not get pinned and give up only three points instead of six.”
That’s the approach at this point of the season. The team didn’t have a very intense practice on Monday. Penhollow said there’s not much teaching to be done at this point in the season. He and the team’s captains — Neill Jennings, Jacob Smith and Credle — will make sure the team is mentally prepared.
“They’re pretty good about conveying to the kids what we have going on,” Penhollow said of the Pam Pack’s leaders. “We’ll give them our best shot and that’s all we can do tomorrow. If we go out and everyone goes as hard as he can and leaves it all on the mat then, if we win, great, if not, then our best shot’s not good enough for them and so be it.”