Pack claims 10th straight title

Published 4:35 pm Monday, January 15, 2024

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Washington High School won its 10th consecutive Eastern Plains Conference wrestling championship with victories over each of the other six league members Saturday at home.
The Pack rolled to the title with wins over North Pitt (63-18), Greene Central (63-18), Wet Craven (61-16), Southwest Edgecombe (77-6), Ayden-Grifton (46-30) and Farmville Central (78-6).
WHS had posted victories over the other six schools earlier in the season and finished with a 31-1 regular season record. The only loss was to 4A powerhouse D.H. Conley in the championship match of their tournament. Washington defeated the Vikings at home in the first quad match of the season.
Not only has the Pack claimed 10 straight conference championships, they are undefeated in league matches during that run.
“That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it in those terms,” said coach Chris Penhollow, who has coached WHS to all 10 titles. “The target on our backs gets bigger every year, but each group doesn’t want to be the ones to lose, so it makes them work harder. Having a middle school feeder program at P.S. Jones is a huge help and my assistants have done a great job over the years. I wrestled here and it’s neat to come back and have success as a coach.”
Washington used its depth to develop more of its younger talent as 24 different wrestlers competed Saturday.
Sophomore Trenton Baldree won five of his six matches in the 175 lb. division, while David B. Meza (138), Sam Boltes (106) and Trent Tucker (144) each won three contested matches.
Those three, along with Bryce Perry (113), Christian Price (120), Gabe Foreman (150), Bryant Smith (157) and TraQuon Haywood (165) made the different in the Ayden-Grifton match.
“They always wrestle us tough and that keeps us on point,” Penhollow said. “(Assistant coach) Carl Perry has done a great job of keeping our guys focused in practice and they are more competitive because we have over 40 guys in the program this year. Our seniors have provided great leadership and we’ve stayed relatively healthy. We’re in a good spot heading into the team state tournament.”
The 2A team state bracket will be released Jan. 25, with competition starting two days later.
The individual tournament to decide conference champions in each weight class is next week at Greene Central.