Pam Pack wrestling season comes to abrupt end

Published 11:26 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Washington had shown plenty of promise all season long. It looked like this team would be the one to get the Pam Pack over the hump in the dual-team playoffs, but that dream was dashed in Tuesday’s second-round matchup against Croatan.

Washington breezed past Northern Nash in the first round while Croatan topped Dixon in its opening matchup. However, a last-minute ineligibility backed the Pam Pack against the wall, and a few Croatan representatives were able to get timely pins.

“I really had us penciled in to be in there Thursday night in the eastern final,” coach Chris Penhollow said. “It is what it is. The kids fought hard. It’s just hard.”

Croatan won a decision in the opening match to take a 3-0 lead. Brodie Moore got a quick takedown to take control early in the second match. He got a reversal in the third period to win a 6-1 decision that tied things.

Washington, hosting the matches at P.S. Jones, fell back behind after Croatan picked up a pin in the third match. Gavin Woolard leveled the score at 9-9 with a first-round fall in the subsequent match.

“We thought it was going to be the tougher match out of the first three we’d get,” Penhollow said. “No real surprises. They did what I thought they’d do. … It’s kind of like a chess match. You flip the coin, see who’s going to flinch, and they got the lucky draw.”

Carson Asby, who recently broke Washington’s record for career wins, made it two pins in a row with another first-round fall. That gave the Pam Pack its first lead, 15-9. Dylan Modlin extended that to 18-9 with a 5-3 decision. Henry Jennings picked up a major decision, 12-0, to build the lead to 22-9.

Croatan stormed back to take a 27-22 advantage thanks to back-to-back pins and a forfeit victory.

“We had a couple of guys — Tristen (Nixon) and Hayden Anderson — they got caught. They’re freshmen. That’s what happened,” Penhollow said, adding that rookies like them make him eager for the future of the local dynasty Washington has built.

Drew Ferguson, the top-ranked 182-pound wrestler in 2-A, earned a decisive fall 43 seconds into the second round. That brought Washington within two, 30-28, but the hosts couldn’t get a win in either of its last two matches.

There’s still something to look forward to in the state individual championships. The team took Wednesday off before getting right back to work.

“We’re still in good shape,” Penhollow said. “We’ve got some good things moving forward and some guys we expect to place. This part of it is done, but we move onto the individual stuff now.”