Orange Wrestling Wins 1st Tiger Holiday Classic; Ramirez, Homsey Win Individual Championships

Updated: December 27, 2017

Since 1991, the Orange Wrestling team has won five state championships, nine regional championships, 620 dual matches, crowned 24 individual state champions and have had 42 wrestlers win 100 matches. All of that was under Coach Bobby Shriner, who retired in June every bit the legendary figure within his own program and Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith are in theirs.

Yet Orange Wrestling never captured the championship of the Tiger Holiday Classic.

Until now.

Behind two individual championship performances from seniors Josiah Ramirez and Braden Homsey, the Panthers finished atop the 36-team field in the 25th Tiger Holiday Wrestling Classic. The two-day event concluded Saturday at Chapel Hill High School.

It also became clear that a rematch from the 2016 3A State Championship Dual Match between Orange and Piedmont could be on the horizon. Orange finished 1st with 230.5 points, while Piedmont came in 2nd with 201.5.

Wrestlers from Piedmont and Orange faced off in five different weight classes, wiith Piedmont coming away with a 3-2 edge. In February in Monroe, Piedmont rallied from a 27-17 deficit with four matches remaining to hand Orange a 29-27 defeat, its only loss of the 2016-17 season.

After trying for four years, Ramirez finallly came away with a Tiger Holiday Invididual Championship at 182 pounds. After finishing fifth at 170 pounds in 2016, Ramirez defeated South Vie’s Tyrese Bryd 4-1 for his third individual championship this season. Ramirez, now 24-0, pinned Terry Sanford’s Finley Allen in 1:25. It was only the second loss of the season for Allen.

Homsey’s victory at 195 came in his second appearance in the Tiger Holiday Classic. Last season, was eliminated without placing at 182. For the past three years, Orange’s top 195 pounder has been Jamar Davis, who focused on soccer this season. Homsey defeated Chapel Hill’s Bradley Kenyon by major decision 19-9 in the semifinals, then grinded out a 5-3 victory over Cameron Blizard of Ragsdale. Homsey also has three individual championships this season and is also 24-0.

Even for those who didn’t win their respective tournaments, it was a weekend of milestones. Heavyweight Daylan Alston won his 100th match, becoming the 41st member of Orange’s 100-win club. After a semifinal loss to Ragsdale’s Brandon Williams, the eventual champion, Alston defeated New Bern’s Jacob Flowers 3-1 for win #100. Alston finished 4th at heavyweight after coming in 5th in 2016.

Avery Jenkins (160) and Trey Jones (170) finished 2nd in their respective weight classes. Jenkins, who competed at 145 last season and won two matches without placing, defeated Pinecrest’s Will Herbert 5-0 to reach the finals. Union Pines Alex Faison, now 29-0, defeated Jenkins for the championship 7-2. Jenkins is now 19-4.

Jones, competing in his first Tiger Classic, won four matches overall in the tournament, including a 6-1 decision over West Cartaret’s Micah Dixon in the semifinals. In the championship Newton Conover’s Joshua Nichols pinned Jones at 2:40.

Mitchell Askew placed third at 113 pounds, while Gavin Wiggins finished 3rd at 126.

Bailey Hawkins, who claimed his 100th win last week, came in 5th at 132. Mario Manduiano, competing in his first Tiger Classic at 152, finished 6th.

Orange will resume its dual team season on Saturday at West Stanley. The Panthers are 9-0 on the season, 3-0 in the Big 8 with wins over East Chapel Hill,  Cedar Ridge and Hillside.

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