Pam Pack wrestling enters season as top team in east

Published 5:15 pm Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Each of Washington’s last few wrestling season have shared at least one thing in common: hope. The Pam Pack ran roughshod in the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference before moving to the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference this season.

Washington isn’t just favored for yet another league title. The Pam Pack has earned the attention necessary to pickup a No. 1 preseason ranking in the east region. It returns a number of key wrestlers from last year’s squad that came up a point short in a regional semifinal loss to Mt. Pleasant.

“This is the first time that we’ve gotten a nod or some recognition,” coach Chris Penhollow said. “A lot of the people in the wrestling community … felt we were doing some good things over here and we got a little recognition.

“I think it made the fan base feel good. The kids are not approaching it any different. They pay attention to it, but their preparation and what we’re doing is no different than it was last year.”

Among those returning is Drew Ferguson, who Penhollow said is the state’s top-ranked wrestler in his weight class. He’s fighting through a shoulder injury from the football season, but has emerged as one of the team’s go-to leaders.

Fellow seniors Austin Koonce, Carson Asby, Mitchell Cobb and Marcus Sneed are also leaders on the team.

“All five of those guys are ranked in the top 10 in the whole state in their weight class,” Penhollow said. “They’re the ones leading the way for us. Then there are a bunch of kids flying under the radar for us.”

Henry Jennings is one of those competitors Penhollow highlighted. He should have been wrestling in the 138-pound division as a sophomore last year, but couldn’t crack the regular lineup because of the senior experience Washington in that area. So, Jennings wrestled at 160 pounds and still managed to finish the season with 30 wins.

“Those guys, no body really knows them too much, so I think they’re going to make some noise wrestling in that area,” Penhollow said of Jennings and 132-pounder Dylan Modlin.

Another stout senior class and some up-and-coming wrestlers leaves Washington hoping to attain the same goal it’s had in place for a few years now. The Pam Pack wants to make it to the state championship as a team.

“We’re favored on paper, but I’ve been telling the guys that doesn’t mean a lot if you go out there and not wrestle well,” Penhollow said. “It’s just like last year. There’s a lot of excitement for the parents and kids about getting to the state championship as a team. That’s where our focus is. It’s not any different than last year.”



The Pam Pack already has five regular-season matches under its belt. It most recently hosted New Bern, North Pitt, Northeastern, Havelock and Fike for its Turkey Duals on Tuesday. Washington won all three of its matches there.

This past weekend saw Washington head to West Carteret’s Beach Brawl individual tournament. Brodie Moore (106 pounds), Asby (126), Jennings (138) and Christian Whitney (195) all placed first in their respective weight classes. Modlin, Koonce, Cobb, Ferguson and Khyric McCloud all placed, too.

Washington beat host West Carteret by a half point to win the tournament as a team. The Pam Pack will be off until it heads to Corinth Holders on Nov. 29.