Grigg brothers add to winning family tradition

by Aaron Burns

East Gaston wrestlers John (left) and Jacob Grigg are the third and fourth members of the Grigg family to star for the Warriors’ wrestling team. (Aaron Burns/MIM photo)

East Gaston High’s wrestling team isn’t your typical program. The Warriors win championships like other teams win matches.

At the forefront of the Warriors’ success on the mat has been an unusual combination: accomplished coach Scott Goins, and the Grigg family. Not one or two Griggs, but four.  The first two, now-graduated former stars Jared and Jesse Grigg, made names for themselves on the mat before their younger brothers were in high school.
But those third and fourth Grigg wrestlers, senior John and sophomore Jacob, could be the best of the bunch. The 2011-12 season certainly supported that idea. John, the Warriors’ 132-pound wrestler, went 52-4 and won the N.C. 4A state title in Greenboro on Feb. 25.

Jacob advanced to the quarterfinals in the 120-pound class and went 52-11 for the season. To the casual observer, that’s an incredible season. To the two brothers anchoring East Gaston’s grappling success, it was just another notch in the belt.

Jared Grigg captured a pair of N.C. 4A titles, while only an ankle injury slowed Jesse from winning one of his own. John’s triumph in Greensboro was special to him, but he said the opportunity to add to the family’s remarkable tradition was even more memorable.

“It’s an honor (to continue the legacy),” John said. “Jared won two titles as a freshman and a sophomore. Jesse would’ve had one, but he got hurt beforehand. To follow in their footsteps is a pretty good thing.”

You could understand if Jacob wasn’t interested in wrestling. His oldest two brothers competed in state tournament matches, and then John had burst onto the scene. That’s a lot of pressure. But wrestling seems to be in the Griggs’ blood. Wins in matches and tournaments run in the family. Jacob said the expectations he has for himself also come from what he’s seen his brothers do on the mat.

“I would always come and watch Jared wrestle,” Jacob said. “It’s a big thing. I grew up wanting to compete for state championships because of my brothers. But I don’t have any big expectations because of it.”

Of course, when the curtain fell on the 2012 season with John’s final prep wrestling match – a 9-6 win over Southern Pines Pinecrest’s Dallas Roemer – it left Jacob as the only Grigg returning to East Gaston next year.

No matter. Teammate Michael Bedard, a 120-pound junior who finished third in the state tournament, said when he came to East Gaston from Ardrey Kell, Jacob seemed to be on par with John.

“Jacob and I had wrestled at regionals last year,” Bedard said. “I won, and then he beat me in the state tournament. So I knew he was good when I got (to East Gaston).”

So did Goins, who said he taught John and Jacob the same lesson he taught Jared and Jesse years ago: effort is what separates the good from the great. And when it comes to the Grigg family, they’ve listened well.

“All we can control is our effort,” Goins said. “The results (always) take care of themselves.”

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