Cedar Ridge High School

Alumni Update: Nichols named MEAC Freshman of the Week

Takia Nichols: Nichols earned her first college weekly honor by the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference this week. She was named the MEAC Freshman of the Week following North Carolina Central’s two-game sweep of Maryland Eastern Shore at Thomas Brooks Park in Cary. On Saturday, the Eagles rallied to win 7-6 with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Nichols delivered a three-run homer to centerfield to score the game-winning runs with one out. It was her second home run of the game. In the third, Nichols hit a solo homer to right centerfield. In the second game of the doubleheader, Nichols went 1-for-2 as the Eagles defeated the Hawks 9-1 in six innings. It was Central’s first run-rule win of the season. Sunday’s game was halted in the fifth inning with the score tied 3-3. On Wednesday, Appalachian State swept a doubleheader from the Eagles at Parkwood Athletic Field in Durham. In the second game, which the Mountaineers won 7-3, Nichols went 2-for-3. She is already batting cleanup for a Central squad that leads the MEAC with 25 home runs in 27 games. Central is 5-0 in the MEAC.

Ava Lowry: Lowry is regularly starting at shortstop for the Division III North Carolina Wesleyan softball team, which is off to a 15-8 start. On Wednesday, the Battling Bishops swept a doubleheader against Guilford at Howorth Field in Greensboro. In Wesleyan’s 6-1 win in the opener, Lowry went 1-for-3 with an RBI. In the nightcap, which Wesleyan won 9-1, Lowry went 1-for-4 with a double. Pfeifer swept Wesleyan in a doubleheader last Saturday. In the opening game, Lowry went 2-for-3. On March 18, the Batting Bishops swept a doubleheader from Averett by scores of 10-2 and 17-9. In the opener, Lowry went 2-for-3 with a run scored. In the nightcap, she finished 1-for-2 with an RBI. Lowry has played in 24 games and is hitting .318 with two home runs and eleven RBIs. She is fourth on the team with 21 hits. She also has eleven RBIs.

Mary Moss Wirt: Wirt appeared as a pinch-runner for Elon and scored a run in the Phoenix’s 4-3 win over Monmouth on March 19 at Monmouth Softball Park in West Long Branch, NJ. Wirt also played in the Phoenix’s 6-2 victory over Monmouth. Elon is 13-17 overall, 7-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Tori Dalehite: On Wednesday, UNC Greensboro’s softball team defeated Charlotte 4-2 at Daughtridge Stadium in Charlotte. Dalehite appeared as a pinch-runner. On March 19, Dalehite appeared as a designated player in the Spartans 5-3 win over Gardner-Webb. UNC Greensboro has won nine in a row as they head into next week’s midweek game at UNC.

Lauren Jackson: On Wednesday, Jackson faced her former teammate at Orange High as Lenoir-Rhyne faced Catawba. Jackson went 1-for-1 as a pinch-hitter, but Catawba defeated Lenoir-Rhyne 7-5. Jaden Hurdle suited up for Catawba. On March 24, Jackson again appeared as a pinch-hitter and had a base hit as the Bears defeated Coker 7-5 in Saleeby Stokes Field. Jackson has played in 27 games, starting 22 of them. She is hitting .333 with one home run and 15 RBIs.

Olivia Aitkin: The Division III Amherst College softball team started its season March 12. The Mammoths are 13-3. Aitkin started in right field in her first college game and finished 2-for-2 in a 6-2 loss to Bethel University at Fortune Road Complex in Kissimmee, FL. Amherst rebounded to win five in a row. Aitkin went 1-for-3 in a 8-0 win over Kenyon College in five innings. She had an RBI sacrifice fly in a 16-0 victory over the University of New England. Against Carleton College, Aitkin had an RBI single as a pinch-hitter as Amherst won 12-1 in five innings. Aitkin has played in eight games, starting five of them. She is hitting .385 with three RBIs.

Grace Andrews: On Wednesday, the Catawba Valley Community College softball team swept a doubleheader from Cleveland Community College in Shelby. In the nightcap, Andrews went 3-for-5 with three runs scored as the Red Hawks won 15-3 in five innings. Catawba Valley won the opener 8-0. On Monday, Louisburg College, ranked #5 in Division III of the National Junior College Athletic Association, swept a doubleheader from the Red Hawks at Highland Recreation Center in Hickory. In a 11-10 loss to the Hurricanes, Andrews hit a solo homer in the fourth inning. She also drove in a run off a bases-loaded walk. Andrews finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Louisburg won the opening game 3-1, where Andrews went 1-for-3. Andrews is the leading hitter for Catawba Valley with a .427 average through 30 games. Catawba Valley is 24-6 overall, 11-3 in Region X of the NJCCA.


Cedar Ridge Red Wolves of the Week: Cierra and Cameron Copeland

This week’s Cedar Ridge Red Wolves of the Week are Cameron and Cierra Copeland. Since the time they started at Cedar Ridge, Cierra and Cameron have been unsung heroes for the athletic program. During the thrones of the COVID-19 pandemic, when fans weren’t allowed to attend games and basketball games were sometimes canceled in just a few hours notice, Cierra and Cameron were the backbone of the 2021 Cedar Ridge women’s basketball team. Often, the Red Wolves suited up only five players to play deeper teams. But that didn’t let that stop them from constantly competing. Last December, Cierra and Cameron both played as Cedar Ridge defeated Person to end a 39-game conference losing streak. Cierra and Cameron have also been managers for the Cedar Ridge volleyball team, which won the 2021 3A State Championship, the 2021 and 2022 Central Carolina Conference regular season and tournament championships. Currently, Cierra and Cameron are playing for the Cedar Ridge softball team, which are 7-4 and will resume its season against Falls Lake on Tuesday in Hillsborough.

Cedar Ridge’s Quinn Finnegan & Mason Cates discuss baseball win over Northwood

The Cedar Ridge baseball team has its offense cranking in wins over Northwood and the North Carolina School of Science and Math last week. The Red Wolves defeated Northwood 7-1 at Red Wolves Field. Sophomore Quinn Finnegan became the first player to hit a home run at Cedar Ridge Stadium this season with a solo blast against the Chargers. The following day against NCSSM in Durham, Finnegan had another home run and finished with five RBIs. Against the Unicorns, the Red Wolves tied its season-high with 12 hits. Junior Mason Cates, who played first base, went 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Red Wolves. Against Northwood, Cates had a double. Finnegan also took the victory on the mound in Cedar Ridge’s season-opener against Knightdale in February. Cedar Ridge enters tonight’s game against Orange with a 6-5 record. They’re fighting for a second straight trip to the state playoffs. Cedar Ridge will also have its annual Vs. Cancer game against Eastern Alamance on April 6th in Hillsborough. Cedar Ridge coach Bryson Massey will have his mustache shaved following the game, along with several players who have grown their own mustaches that pale in comparison to their head coach’s.

Mustache Madness–Finnegan homers in Cedar Ridge baseball’s wins over Northwood, NCSSM

Next month, the Carolina Hurricanes will start growing playoff beards, an annual ritual for the 16 NHL teams that achieved enough to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Right now around the Cedar Ridge baseball program, it’s Mustache March.

On April 6, the Red Wolves will face Eastern Alamance for its annual Vs. Cancer game at Cedar Ridge Field. In the past, that’s led to head coach Bryson Massey getting his head shaved for charity. This year, Massey is growing a mustache, which will be shaved next week for the home date against the Eagles.

“I told the guys I’ll grow my mustache until April 6,” Massey said after the Red Wolves defeated Northwood 7-1 last Tuesday in Hillsborough. “We’ve had some players join us in jumping on the train. They’ve grown some out, but I think mine’s takes the cake, though.”

Sophomore right fielder and pitcher Quinn Finnegan took the cake at the plate last week against the Chargers. Finnegan skied a solo homer to left field in the fifth inning, his first dinger of the season. That’s no small feat at Red Wolves Stadium, probably the most pitcher-friendly park in the Central Carolina Conference.

Coming off a loss to Person where the Red Wolves notched only two hits on March 17, Cedar Ridge had an offensive explosion last week. The day after they defeated Northwood, the Red Wolves journeyed to the North Carolina School of Science and Math in Durham and stockpiled 12 hits, tying its season-high set in the opener against Knightdale, in a 18-1 win over the Unicorns in five innings.

“We came out and played really well at Person,” Massey said. “We had our bats hot tonight (against Northwood). As for Person, I told the guys that’s just baseball. We threw a great game in the second game against Person. We just didn’t swing it as well.”

Senior B.J. Thornton, the Swiss Army knife of the Red Wolves, earned the win against the Chargers with eleven strikeouts over six innings. In addition to being Cedar Ridge’s regular starting pitcher in its rotation, Thornton also plays four defensive positions.

Finnegan drove in the opening run against the Chargers on an infield single that scored Grant McGuffey, who drew a leadoff walk. With Thornton at bat, Finnegan added to the Red Wolves lead when Thornton reached on a dropped third strike. On the throw to first, Finnegan came in to score as Thornton won the race to first.

Northwood struggled to gain traction against Thornton, who threw 59 of his 95 pitches for strikes. Northwood only had one runner touch third base in the opening six innings. Jacob Garrett reached on an infield single in the third, but was stranded after Thornton struck out Jackson Shaner to end the frame.

Against Science and Math, Cedar Ridge opened with a RBI single to right field by Mason Cates, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Four Red Wolves had multi-hit games. Finnegan had an RBI double to centerfield to score McGuffey in the third, then belted a three-run homer in the sixth to increase the Red Wolves lead to 18-1.

Finnegan finished the game against the Unicorns with five RBIs.

Sophomore Landon Dalehite opened the fourth inning with a double to right field and eventually scored off a sacrifice fly by McGuffey. In the fifth, Dalehite hit an RBI single that plated Thornton.

In addition to Cates’ single in the third, he doubled to left field in the fifth, bringing in McGuffey. On the day, McGuffey went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. He also earned the victory on the mound throwing three shutout innings. Ian McGuffey took the save throwing three innings of relief. Designated hitter Will Tippin went 1-for-2 with three runs scored.

With the second game of its two-game set for tonight against Orange at Cedar Ridge Field, the Red Wolves are in the thick of the 3A State Playoff hunt with the Eastern Alamance series set to start next Tuesday. Until then, Massey will continue to wear his mustache until it’s time to come off.

“I get some funny looks when I go out in public,” Massey said.

Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week: Reagan Simmons

This week’s Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week is sophomore catcher Reagan Simmons. Through nine games this season, Simmons is second on the team with a .545 batting average. She leads the team with 14 runs and is second on the squad with 12 hits. She also leads the team with two home runs. Simmons started as a freshman last year and also played basketball. Playing extensively in 2022, she learned alongside seniors Takia Nichols, Ava Lowry and Olivia Aitkin, all of whom provided a valuable lesson in leadership. Among the highlights this season for Simmons is going 3-for-3 with an RBI single in a 9-7 win over Cardinal Gibbons in Hillsborough; going 2-for-4 with an RBI single in a 14-4 win over Northern Durham; and going 2-for-4 while scoring three runs against Seaforth in a 23-1 Red Wolves victory. Simmons has played youth softball since she was an adolescent. With Kimber Shambley and Charlotte Lowry, Simmons provides a youthful front that aims to propel Cedar Ridge back to the top of the Central Carolina Conference. Cedar RIdge travels to Eastern Alamance, the defending 3A State Champions, tonight in Mebane for its final game before spring break. First pitch is at 6PM.


Cedar Ridge softball’s Kimber Shambley & Charlotte Lowry discuss win over Northwood

The Cedar RIdge softball team claimed a pair of wins last week over teams from Chatham County. On Wednesday, Cedar RIdge rolled past Seaford 23-1 in Pittsboro., Sophomore Kimber Shambley hit her first home run as a Red Wolves with a two-run blast in the fourth inning. Shambley went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Another sophomore, Charlotte Lowry, went 1-for-2 with a single. On Friday, the Red Wolves defeated Northwood 6-4 in Hillsborough. Lowry started as the pitcher and threw a complete game to earn the win. She is the younger sister of former Cedar Ridge shortstop Ava Lowry, who is now playing with North Carolina Wesleyan. Shambley, Lowry, Reagan Simmons and freshman Mia Best make up the core of a young Cedar RIdge team playing in a deep Central Carolina Conference. Freshmen Laci Sykes and Victoria Matthews have also seen time early on this season as the Red Wolves are off to a 6-2 start. Cedar RIdge will host crosstown rival Orange on Tuesday night. You can hear that game on Hillsboroughsports.com.


McGuffey’s chilly squeeze play completes Cedar Ridge rally past Person 11-10

North Carolina Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame Ron Stutts made it a daily routine on WCHL of saying “It’s 67 degrees in Chapel Hill, which means it’s 66 in Carrboro, where it’s always a degree cooler.”

In Roxboro, it’s more live five degrees cooler. Except on nights like Tuesday, where it’s Antartica.

“It was the coldest game I’ve ever been in,” said Cedar Ridge coach Bryson Massey on his way up Highway 57 amidst a jubilant bus ride home after he Red Wolves rallied from a 10-6 deficit to stun Person 11-10 at Rockets Field in Roxboro. “I’m just happy to be where it’s warm.”

It was a major win for a Cedar Ridge team coming off a flat performance against Walter Williams in Burlington. After the Red Wolves captured its conference opener over the Bulldogs 6-2 last Tuesday, Williams defeated the Red Wolves 10-0 in Burlington.

Person (3-2, 2-1 in the Central Carolina Conference) came into the game atop the Central Carolina Conference after they swept Western Alamance in a two-game series last week.

The Red Wolves battled more than the elements against the Rockets. Person started Levi Strader, who tossed five shutout innings in a 4-1 in over Western Alamance last week in Elon. The Red Wolves were able to connect off Strader for two runs in the opening inning. Both teams went deep into their bullpens, but it was the Red Wolves’ sophomore Nick Atkin who provided the steady hand in the end. Atkin picked up his first career win after he threw two-and-two-thirds innings of shutout baseball. He allowed only one baserunner with a walk in the seventh inning.

When Atkin entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Red Wolves trailed 10-7. Issac Anderson and B.J. Thornton started the comeback when they each drew walks to open the top of the sixth. Mason Cates loaded the bases with a line drive single to left field. Peyton Smith was inserted as pitcher and retired two Red Wolves before Grant McGuffey drew a bases loaded walk to score Thornton.

Atkin retired the Rockets in order in the sixth. In the seventh, Landon Dalehite, Anderson and Thornton were all hit by pitches in their respective at-bats. Cates tied the game with a two-run single to right field, scoring Dalehite and Anderson. Ian McGuffey then laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to first base, bringing in Thornton to put the Red Wolves ahead 11-10.

Person put the game-tying run on board in the seventh inning when Keeghan Holmes was hit by a pitch with one out. Atkin got Lee Womack to ground into a fielder’s choice, Ian McGuffey stepped on second base for the second out. After Tyler White was intentionally walked, Dylan England flew out to Anderson in centerfield for the final out.

On Wednesday night, the Red Wolves dominated Northern Durham 18-2 at Knights Field. Quinn Finnegan hit an inside the park home run on a ball hit to left field to score Joe Garbee and Kevin Jones. Leading 2-1, the Red Wolves scored four runs in the third inning. Jones led off the inning with a single to left field. After Anderson walked, Thornton knocked in Jones with a single to right field. Anderson scored off a wild pitch to increase the Red Wolves lead to 4-1. Thornton scored off a balk called against Northern. Cates went on to score off an error.

Joe Garbee threw four innings to take his first win of the season. Anibal Sanchez and Finnegan threw three shoutout innings to ride out the victory for the Red Wolves. Atkin, starting at shortstop, finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Thornton went 2-for-3 with three runs scored.

Cedar Ridge (4-2, 2-1) will host Person on Friday night.