Washington falls in regional semifinal

Published 12:17 am Friday, February 3, 2017

CARRBORO — Washington got as far as it ever has, but still came up short in its own eyes. The Pam Pack fell, 31-30, to Mt. Pleasant in Thursday’s eastern regional semifinal.

Mt. Pleasant, which went on to lose by the same score to Carrboro in the regional-title match, had a 31-12 lead with three matches to go. It forfeited the final three bouts once Washington had mathematically lost.

It was a stinging defeat, especially for the Pam Pack’s four seniors. Coming that close leaves the wrestlers wondering what more they could have done like picking up extra points via a fall or even one more point with a major decision.

“We lost two late early on,” coach Chris Penhollow said. “… Almost everything went the way I expected, It was frustrating.”

Washington fell behind 15-0 before Drew Ferguson nabbed a 4-0 decision for the Pam Pack’s first points. The team lost its next three decisions, though, to fall behind 31-3.

The hill was steep, but not quite insurmountable. Freshman Brody Moore showed an incredible amount of resolve in his match. After getting behind and hurting his arm, Moore battled back when his opponent ran out of steam and got penalized for stalling and locking hands.

Carson Asby dominated the first round of his match, but couldn’t pick up a much-needed pin or major decision. Penhollow said that Asby had to lose five pounds to make weight, which likely affected his performance.

Even so, Asby hung on to earn three points. Marcus Sneed did the same thing in the prior match. He got a quick 2-0 lead and hung on to take a 4-2 decision. Even though he had early chances to get a pin, Penhollow was pleased with his performance.

“I had Marcus penciled in as maybe a loss, so that was a big win for him,” Penhollow said. “He was one that I was not sure of. He stepped up tonight. Some guys that know better did not.”

Simeon Pope got a third-round pin to give the Pam Pack hope, but Mt. Pleasant was just barely able to hang on.

This isn’t a flash in the pan for Washington as it continues its mission to cement itself as one of the best 2-A wrestling programs in the state. The focus now shifts to the individual state championships and then to next season. Seniors D.K. Credle, Austin Coward, Jacob Smith and Pope have left a foundation that next year’s returners will continue building on.

“It’s the first time we’ve gotten this far, but I hate it for my seniors,” Penhollow said. “We’ll be back next year.”