If the holidays are near, that means the Tiger Holiday Classic isn’t far behind. It’s also the end of a busy, wild week for the Orange Panther wrestling team, which placed two grapplers in the semifinals at the end of a long first day.

The 22nd Tiger Holiday Classic started Tuesday at Chapel Hill High School.

At 152 pounds, senior Joe Scott advanced to the semifinals, where he will face a familiar face in the semifinals tomorrow. Scott takes on Eastern Alamance’s Mitchell Dean, who defeated Scott in the Jim King Invitational last month. Dean captured the 152-pound championship and earned Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

On Tuesday, Scott started with a pinfall victory over George Wythe’s (VA) Teion Brown in :37. He scored another pin in the second round over Croatan’s Charles Corbell in 4:51. Scott punched his ticket to Wednesday’s semifinals with an 18-4 major decision over Holly Spring’s Elijah Geniesse, improving to 21-2 on the season.

At 220, sophomore Payton Wilson rolled into the semifinals following a pair of victories. After receiving a bye into the 2nd round, Wilson pinned Mason Wagner of Pinecrest in 1:57. He followed that with a pinfall victory over Chapel Hill’s George McBurney in 2:50. McBurney finished fourth at 220 last season.

Wilson faces Southeast Guilford’s Evan Surgeon (23-0) on Wednesday morning. The championships will take place at approximately 4 PM.

After the first day of the 46-team event, Orange is 7th in the overall standings with 89 points. Cedar Ridge, with ten wrestlers participating, is 32nd.

Eden Morehead is first with 131 points. Jack Britt, the defending Tiger champions, is 2nd with 101. Southeast Guilford is 3rd with 98.

The first day of the Tiger is among the longest days of the season, especially for those who win their opening matches but lose in the third round, forcing them to compete in consolation rounds well into the night.

At 126, Orange’s Jamison Askew will compete for third place Wednesday morning. Askew opened with a 5-0 victory over Carson Pervier of William Hough. He followed with a 8-6 decision over Northwood’s Ian Anderson. West Brunswick’s Harrison Campbell, who entered the tournament 21-0, pinned Askew in :41.

Forced into the consolation bracket, Askew rebounded by pinning Greenville Rose’s Phifer Ozimek in 4:00. Askew, now 21-7, faces Britt’s Bradley Wanovich next.

At 195, Orange’s Shannon Thompson also has a chance at a third-place finish. He was forced into the consolation bracket after a pinfall loss to Northwood’s John Dunning in 5:36. Dunning was the 195 champion at the King Invitational. Thompson defeated Asheboro’s Nathan Otero in 1:22 in the first round, and followed with a 5-3 decision over Carrboro’s Nathanie Otero.

In the consolation bracket, Thompson defeated Southeast Guilford’s Michael Johnson 6-4. He will take on Tyshawn Olverson of Morehead High on Wednesday morning. Thompson is 23-7.

Also alive for Wednesday’s consolation round is Orange’s Josiah Ramirez. He stared the day with a pin of William Hough’s Austin Boyd in 2:37. Then he scored a major decision over Charlotte Providence’s Jake Reid 14-3. Northwood’s Hunter Queen knocked Ramirez into the consolation round with a 16-7 victory. He rebounded by beating Jordan’s Maliik Marcin to improve to 18-5.

Cedar Ridge’s Jacob Tutor started the day with consecutive wins at 138. He defeated Austin Curry of Asheboro 12-9, and reached the quarterfinals after winning an injury decision against Logan Mills of George Wythe. Tutor fell in the following round to Britt’s Wesley Hollingsworth via pinfall.

The only Red Wolf that will compete on Wednesday will be Darius McLeod at 106. McLeod won four matches on Wednesday, including three in the consolation round. He reached the consolation semis by pinning Apex’s Gabe Baragona in 2:52. He faces Austin Hunt next.

Orange sophomore Bailey Hawkins captured victories in his first two matches. He’s now 25-6.

Cedar Ridge’s Grady Pritchard won his opening match at 152 over Northwood’s William Mishoe, a pinfall in 1:49. He fell in the 2nd round to Sawyer Davidson of Asheboro.


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