Accomplished Pam Pack senior class chasing state title

Published 5:31 pm Friday, January 27, 2017

Dominating wins over North Johnston and North Pitt at Wednesday’s quad marked the end of the regular season for Washington’s wrestling team. For the third year in a row, the Pam Pack finished as regular-season champion.

The boys will be entering a new conference next year, meaning they’ll leave the EPC on top. Even more impressive is the stranglehold this senior class had on the league over the last three years.

Austin Coward, Simeon Pope, D.K. Credle and Jacob Smith have spearheaded the most dominant span in Washington history. The four Pam Pack seniors, and captains of this year’s team, led them to 92 wins over the last four years. They’ve helped the team to three-straight appearances in the state dual team playoffs, too.

All of those accolades are school records.

“It’s hard to put into words. The kids have worked real hard, this group of seniors,” coach Chris Penhollow said. “They’ve been real solid leaders and helped bring along the rest of the talent that’s around them. We’re able to fill all of our weight classes with good, quality kids that work hard. … It’s pretty special for them to run the table and, in the last three years, not lose a conference match.”

Coward added, “It’s pretty hard. Every day, you’ve got to come into the room and really put 100 percent in everything you do. You can’t really slack off too much. That’s how we are beating teams by crazy numbers — by working hard every day.”

Wednesday’s final regular-season match was Washington’s senior night. It was an emotional night all around.

“I gave them all a hug and told them each that I loved them,” Penhollow said. “It’s going to be tough watching these four take off and move on. They were the first ones that, when I got here (three years ago), I met and started developing relationships with.”

Washington’s seniors were honored as a part of Wednesday’s senior night ceremony.

Washington’s seniors were honored as a part of Wednesday’s senior night ceremony.

This senior class, even with all that it has achieved in four years, is far from done. The Pam Pack still has business to take care of at Saturday’s conference tournament, which it will host.

After that, the state dual team playoffs begin on Tuesday. Everything moves fast from there, as the state-championship matchup will be set in one week’s time. The loaded schedule is something Penhollow has been preparing for.

“I think we’re in as good shape as we can be,” Penhollow said. “I told the guys that we are as healthy as we can be. … We don’t have any excuses as far as being down a man.”

Washington has had some incredible seasons in recent years, and has sent plenty of representatives to the individual state championship, but hasn’t gotten over the hump as a team.

This group has already left a lasting mark on the program, but it wants to go out on top.

“It’s really important. I really want to bring home rings for the whole team and bring home a state championship for the school,” Credle said. “I don’t know, other than swimming, the last time a team has won a state championship. I want to be the team that does it.”

Washington’s landing spot for the first round of the dual team playoffs will be determined after Saturday’s tournament. Log onto and follow along on Twitter @WDNSports for the latest coverage.