Pack fighters claim ninth straight conference title

Posted 4:52 PM Monday, January 16, 2023

Washington High School’s wrestling team took advantage of home mat advantage Saturday en route to its ninth straight conference championship in the Eastern Plains Conference doubles.

The Pack defeated SouthWest Edgecombe and Greene Central, 75-6, North Pitt 64-15, Ayden-Grifton 48-24 and West Craven 46-34 to complete a 10-0 league season.

“This is a great type of routine to start with,” said trainer Chris Penhollow. “It’s one of our team goals every year and all of our guys showed up and did their job.”

The championship means the Pack will have the top seed in their four-team pod when the state tournament team competition begins on January 28.

DaShawn Smith won all four of his contests in the 285-pound class as did Bryant Smith at 152.

Junior Christian Price went 3-0 with 106, while Kahlil Rogers (4-1) with 170 and freshman Evan Makepeace (3-1) with 145 had a good matchup according to Penhollow.

“We have good depth throughout our lineup and it showed on Saturday,” Penhollow said. “We have competed well. In every weight class over the years and that’s the key to winning nine in a row.”

The only blemish of the day came when sophomore Gabe Davis injured his right knee during his 195-pound fight with opponent Ayden-Grifton. Davis couldn’t continue and Penhollow isn’t sure if he’ll return for the first few games of the state tournament.

“I hate it for him because he’s been fighting so well lately,” Penhollow said. “The other guy fell to his knees by accident and Gabe couldn’t continue. We will be delighted to have him back when that is.”