WHS, NHS wrestlers start state title search

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The search for an individual state championship begins Thursday at the Greensboro Coliseum for a record number of Washington and Northside wrestlers.

The Pam Pack advanced a program-best 11 of 14 wrestlers after winning the 2A East regional at Ayden-Grifton HS Saturday, while the third-year Panthers program will send two.

“It’s the best we’ve ever done at a regional and I’m proud of all of them for winning the regional title,” WHS coach Chris Penhollow said. “We had four champions and several others who came close. It will be fun to see what they do in Greensboro.”

This was the Pack’s third regional title in 11 years under Penhollow after a runner-up finish last year.

Freshmen Sam Boltes pinned all three opponents in the 106 lb. class, while classmate Bryce Perry advanced with a pin and two technical falls. Seniors Christian Price (120) and Bryant Smith (157) will make their third state tournament appearances after claiming their second regional title. Price advanced with two pins and a decision, while Smith tallies two pins and a technical fall.

Senior Braxton Woolard (126) will make his third state tournament appearance after a fourth-place finish that featured a trip through the consolation bracket after an early loss.

“He was the fifth seed going in and I told him he would have to upset somebody to advance,” Penhollow said. “He pulled it off with a pin of a North Pitt guy who beat him two weeks ago. He battled hard all day and deserves to make the trip.”

David B. Meza (138) and Gabe Foreman (144) qualified as second seeds after close losses in their title matches.

“David lost a one point decision and Gabe lost in a double overtime tiebreaker,” Penhollow said. “They gave it their best shot and should do well this weekend.”

Senior TeQuon Haywood pinned his first three opponents, then lost to North Lenoir in the 165 lb. final, while sophomore Trenton Baldree won four of five matches to take third at 175.

Trent Tucker (150) and Marek Bates (190) finished fourth to also qualify.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class from each of the four regionals will have their first match Thursday, followed by more action Friday and the finals Saturday in the double elimination event.

Northside qualified two wrestlers for the first time in the program’s third year as senior Jacob Robert split four matches to take fourth place at 113 lbs. and junior Ryland Paul battled back through the consolation bracket to finish fourth at 138 by winning four of his six matches.

“He had a tough day, but powered through adversity to advance,” coach Daniel Garcia said. “He and Jacob controlled the pace of their matches enough to advance. I told everybody that every match would tough and that they needed to use everything we’ve learned and worked for all year. I’m very proud of how everyone competed with the best wrestlers in our region.”