Cedar Ridge Wrestling

Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week: Kaden Tatro

This week’s Cedar Ridge Red Wolf of the Week is senior wrestler Kaden Tatro. This season, Tatro won the Central Conference Championship at 165 pounds at Walter Williams High School in Burlington. Tatro ended the year 49-5. He completed his career with 159 wins, the second-most in school history. This season, Tatro helped Cedar Ridge win the Central Conference regular season championship, their first team title at the 3A level and just their second regular season championship ever. He also helped Cedar Ridge beat crosstown rival Orange for the first time. Tatro won two conference championships in his career. He finished third in the Mideast Regional championships at 165 pounds. As a junior, Tatro helped Cedar Ridge win the Central Conference Tournament at Orange High School in February 2023. In his junior season, Tatro finished 54-8 and finished second at the Mideast Regional championships. He wound up finishing sixth in the 3A State Championships at the Greensboro Coliseum. Tatro’s name will forever be etched in Cedar Ridge wrestling history when his name on the all-time wins list is adorned inside the team’s wrestling room on a banner. Tatro also played lacrosse during the pandemic in 2021 when the Red Wolves made the state playoffs under the direction of former head coach Patrick Cavanaugh.

Jacksonville ends Cedar Ridge wrestling’s run in State Dual Playoff quarterfinals 49-27

As the dual season ends for the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves wrestling team, they can take pride in the fact they are the first of its kind.

They were the first team in school history to reach the state quarterfinals in the 3A State Dual Team Playoffs. They were the first Red Wolf team since 2010 to win a match in the state dual playoffs. They were the first Cedar Ridge team to ever beat Orange in a dual meet and just the second team in school history to win a regular season conference championship.

The Jacksonville Cardinals defeated the Red Wolves 49-27 in the 3A State Dual Quarterfinals on Wednesday night in Jacksonville. Later that night, Union Pines would claim its third consecutive 3A Eastern Regional championship when they defeated the Cardinals 47-18.

Union Pines will face Eastern Guilford for the 3A State Championship at Novant Fieldhouse in Greensboro on Saturday.

Cedar Ridge ends the dual team season 18-9.

Red Wolf senior James Este-Wittinger opened the night with a 6-4 decision over Alexander Perry to give Cedar Ridge a 3-0 lead. Este-Wittinger will go into the 3A Mideast Regionals with a 31-11 record. At heavyweight, Jacksonville’s Eteuati Taula pinned Aaron Olivares in 3:04. It was only the third loss in the last 12 matches for Olivares.

At 106 pounds, Cedar Ridge’s Favio Jaramillo Esparza pinned James Wernimont in 3:53 to give the Red Wolves a 9-6 lead. Cole Hunt of Jacksonville pinned Trevor Long at 113 pounds, but Cedar Ridge’s Pierce Prescod pinned Maxwell David in 2:18. Prescod leads the team with 33 pins this year with an overall record of 44-9.

Jacksonville dominated the middleweight classes with five straight wins. Gavin Nipper claimed a 9-3 decision over Nathan Vendura at 126 pounds to even the match at 15-15. The Cardinals’ Gavin Costillo (132), Mason McMullen (138) and Joseph Gabriel (144) all claimed pins. At 150 pounds, Brock Smith earned a major decision over Angus Pritchard 13-5, vaulting the Cardinals ahead 38-15 with four matches remaining.

Cedar Ridge junior Ryan Rakouskas pinned Anthony Campbell in 1:20. Rakouskas is now 32-11 after his 94th career win.

At 165 pounds, Kaden Tatro pinned Ethan McWaters in 51 seconds. Jacksonville’s Jonathan Moses pinned Shea Spiller to clinch the match for the Cardinals.

Next up for Cedar Ridge will be the Women’s Mideast Regionals on Friday and Saturday at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville. The Red Wolves’ Zoey Moreno will try to reach the 3A State Women’s Individual Championships after barely missing out last year.

Uncharted Waters–Pritchard, Tatro lead Cedar Ridge wrestling past Person, Carrboro, into State Quarterfinals

Everything that Cedar Ridge wrestling has ever accomplished, they’ve done the hard way.

After two decades competing in the long shadow of Orange High, one of the most established programs in North Carolina, the Red Wolves broke through this winter. They won the Central Conference regular season championship, its’ first league title as a 3A team.

However, their first trip to the 3A State Dual Team Tournament wouldn’t be a short drive up the road. Instead, Currituck County, the champions of the Northeastern Coastal Conference, finished the regular season 23-0, ranked #10 in the final dual team rankings.

Which meant the Red Wolves, which earned the #6 seed for the tournament, would drive four hours by bus on Saturday afternoon to the upper northeast corner of the state. Joining them would be Central Conference rival Person and Carrboro.

It was a long way to go, but by the end of the day, an exhausted Red Wolves team returned home late on Saturday night as the first Cedar Ridge wrestling team to ever reach the 3A State Dual Team quarterfinals.

Cedar Ridge started the day with a 70-7 win over Carrboro. On the adjacent mat inside Knights Gymnasium, the Red Wolves watched on as Person stunned Currituck 40-37. The Rockets’ Gavin Jones pinned Kurtis Spruill to vault the Rockets ahead in the final match and hand the Knights its first loss of the year. The match had five ties and four lead changes.

At the end of the day, Cedar Ridge drove a total of 448 miles to face a conference opponent that’s ordinarily about a 35-minute drive away from Hillsborough. But it would be worth it.

The Red Wolves blended youth with experience to defeat the Rockets 45-33 and advance to the state quarterfinals.

On Wednesday night, Cedar Ridge will face Jacksonville in the round of eight at Jacksonville High School. On the opposite mat, defending 3A Eastern Regional Champion Union Pines faces Croatan. The regional championship match will immediately follow.

While Cedar Ridge had already defeated Person 45-30 on November 21 in Hillsborough, that was a lifetime ago in wrestling circles.

On Saturday, the lead changed four times in the opening seven matches. it was freshman Alejandro Briones who put the Red Wolves ahead for good with a pin over Gabe Cameron in a dual match that had 12 pins and only two decisions. Briones, coming off his championship at 144 pounds in the Central Conference tournament, defeated Cameron to improve to 23-11 with his eleventh pin of the season.

It was the first of four consecutive pinfall victories for the Red Wolves.

Another conference champion, senior Angus Pritchard, pinned Ryan Dollar to give the Red Wolves some breathing room with a 27-18 overall lead. Pritchard, who won the 150 pound championship in the conference tournament, improved to 23-9 with his 12th pin of the season.

Junior Ryan Rakouskas pinned Addison Carey to improve the Red Wolves lead to 33-18. Kaden Tatro, who is now 2nd all-time in school history in wins, pinned Thai Meeler to improve to 47-4 with his 22nd pin this year.

Person’s James Rose (175) and Malakai Newman (190) each scored pins to pull the Rockets within 12 points at 39-27 with two matches remaining. The last of those matches was at heavyweight featuring Person’s Trevquan Gary, the conference champion and a potential All-State candidate.

Fortunately for Cedar Ridge, Joe O’Melia made the heavyweight match moot when he pinned Jones to ensure the win. Gary won by forfeit at heavyweight as Cedar Ridge exited Barco with a 45-33 victory.

The last time Cedar Ridge won a match in the state dual tournament, they defeated North Johnston 51-27 in the opening round of the 2A State Tournament in 2010. Later that night at Red Wolves Gymnasium, Topsail defeated the Red Wolves 53-25.

In the opening match against Carrboro, Cedar Ridge scored seven pins to cruise to victory. Heavyweight Aaron Olivares started with a pin over Milo Thornton. Olivares improved to 25-17 with his 20th pin. Olivares has pinfall victories in nine of his last ten matches. At 113 pounds, Cedar Ridge’s Trevor Long scored his fourth pin of the year against Penelope Tovar. At 132 pounds, Graylon Collins earned a major decision over Ajax Hopler 8-0 to put the Red Wolves ahead 22-7. At 144 pound,  Briones pinned Ajax Hopler.

That pin officially put Cedar Ridge into the second round.

Pritchard pinned Zach Westrick at 150 pounds. Rakouskas pinned Shiloh Smith at 157. Rakouskas, who now has 93 career wins, is 31-11 this season.

Pierce Prescod, Jordin Blue, Shea Spiller and James Este-Wittinger all earned forfeit wins. Tatro pinned Spencer Crawley.

Cedar Ridge wrestling’s Alejandro Briones & Angus Pritchard discuss winning Central Conference individual titles

The Cedar Ridge wrestling team crowned four champions during the Central Conference Tournament at Walter Williams High in Burlington last Saturday. Freshman Alejandro Briones won the 144-pound championship when he defeated Eastern Alamance’s Mason Tanner 10-9. After losing to Tanner 22-7 via technical fall in November, Briones jumped out to a 9-1 lead last Saturday. In the final 20 seconds of the mach, Tanner evened things up at 9-9 when he earned a near fall, but Briones bridged out and scored an escape point with one second remaining to earn the victory. Briones took his first tournament championship of his Cedar Ridge career and improved to 22-11 on the season. Senior Angus Pritchard won the 150-pound championship with a 15-7 win over Andrew Dudley of Southern Alamance. Pritchard jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never trailed. After Dudley got an escape to cut Pritchard’s lead to 8-6, Prichard got a late takedown and scored the final five points of the match. Pritchard is 21-9 this season with ten pins. Cedar Ridge won the Central Conference regular season championship and will compete in the 3A State Dual Team Wrestling Championships this Saturday. The Red Wolves will face Carrboro in the opening round at Curritcuk County High School. If the Red Wolves win, they will face either Currituck County or Person in the round of 16. 

Briones, Tatro, Prescod, Pritchard take Central Conference championships for Cedar Ridge

BURLINGTON–There were expected winners for Cedar Ridge in the 2nd Central Conference Wrestling Tournament.

And then there was freshman Alejandro Briones.

In November, Eastern Alamance’s Mason Farmer defeated Briones by technical fall 22-7 during the Red Wolf Invitational at Cedar Ridge in the 150-pound tournament.

On Saturday at Williams High School, Briones and Farmer met again, this time in the 144-pound championship match. Briones immediately let it be known that there would be no technical fall on this day, scoring two takedowns in the opening period to take a 4-1 lead.

Briones would increase his advantage to 9-1 after he opened the second period with a takedown and scored three back points. Farmer fought back and took Briones’ back, eventually earning two back points to cut his deficit down to 9-5.

The third period may have been the most thrilling finish of the day. Tanner got a double leg takedown. In the final ten seconds, Tanner got a near fall as Briones struggled to keep his shoulders off the mat. Tanner evened the match at 9-9, but Briones escaped off the mat in the final second and earned a 10-9 upset in a thrilling finish.

Briones earned his first tournament win of the season as he improved to 22-11. Earlier in the day, Briones defeated Gabe Cameron of Person 6-3.

After clinching the Central Conference regular season championship two weeks ago, the Red Wolves appeared set to repeat as tournament champions. But Person scored three pins in the heavier weight classes to close out the day with 187 points. Cedar Ridge, with four first-place finishes, came in second at 179.5 points. Southern Alamance finished third at 148 points.

Two Red Wolves defended their individual conference titles from 2023, while a senior came through with his first conference title.

Senior Kaden Tatro continued his march towards the all-time school wins record by easily taking the 165-pound championship. Tatro, who now has 154 career wins, defeated James Rose of Person by tech fall 18-1 in four minutes. In the semifinals, Tatro pinned Chris Solomon of Eastern Alamance in 1:58.

Tatro is 45-4 this season with 21 pins and 16 technical falls. He how has 154 career wins. The all-time record is held by Chandler Collins at 166 wins.

Tatro won the 182-pound conference championship last year, beating Northwood’s Ethan Kuball 8-3 in the championship match.

At 120 pounds, junior Pierce Prescod pinned Orange’s Adrian Sierra in 1:30 in the championship match. Prescod pinned Pedro Manuel Ramos of Walter Williams in 3:04 in the semifinals. This season, Prescod has a 41-9 record with 31 pins, which leads the team. Last week, during senior night at Cedar Ridge, Prescod won his 100th career match as a junior. He now has 104 career wins. He is now three wins behind Ethan Knapp for sixth place on the all-time school career wins list.

At 150 pounds, senior Angus Pritchard captured the championship. A year after not placing in the 170-pound conference tournament, Pritchard scored a major decision over Southern Alamance’s Andrew Dudley 15-7 to take his first conference title.

Pritchard, 21-9 this season with ten pins, pinned Orange’s Evan Parker in the semifinals.

In addition to Cedar Ridge’s four conference champions, they had four others place in the top three in their weight divisions.

Junior Ryan Rakouskas reached the championship match at 157-pound tournament. Rakouskas, who reached the state championships last year, pinned Addison Carey of Person in the semifinals. Jace Rich of Southern Alamance pinned Rakouskas in the title match. Rakouskas is 29-11 with 23 pins this year.

At heavyweight, Aaron Olivares extended his streak with his eighth straight pinfall win in the semifinals by beating Luke White of Southern Alamance. Person’s Trevquan Gary defeated Olivares for the championship. At one point this year, Olivares was 8-9. Now, he goes into this weekend’s State Dual Team Tournament playoff match with a mark of 24-17 with 19 pins.

At 132 pounds, Graylon Collins pinned Hamden Wagner of Southern Alamance in 2:43 of the third place match. Collins is 23-14 with eleven pins in his first year at the varsity level.

Favio Jaramillo Esparza finished third at 106 pounds. He wrestled Person’s Ayden Dymes of Person twice, including in the third-place match. Esparza scratched out a 5-3 decision to improve his record to 31-10 with ten pins.

At 138 pounds, Jordin Blue pinned Dylan Maloney of Southern Alamance to win third place. Blue scored two pins in the tournament and has 13 wins this year.

Cedar Ridge is now waiting for the bracketing for the 32-team 3A State Dual Team Tournament. It will be their seventh appearance in the state tournament. The first and second rounds will be held on Saturday at a location to be determined.



Champions! Cedar Ridge wrestling wins Central Conference title; Tatro wins 150th career match

There’s been plenty of milestones around the Cedar Ridge wrestling program recently.

Senior Kaden Tatro is on the verge of breaking the school’s all-time record for wins in program history.

Last week, junior Pierce Prescod won his 100th career match, becoming the seventh wrestler in school history to surpass the century mark.

Yet Prescod is the third Cedar Ridge wrestler in the past three years to win 100 matches, joining Tatro and Fernando Martinez, who is now redshirting as a freshman at Division II UNC Pembroke.

When you consider that Cedar Ridge went 16 years without a 100-win wrestler, it tells you all you need to know about how much depth has arrived within the program under the direction of head coach Scott Metcalf since the pandemic.

Last week, the surest sign came on Senior Night when the Red Wolves celebrated an undefeated Central Conference season by beating Walter Williams 69-9 on January 10 at Red Wolves Gymnasium. Cedar Ridge wrapped up its first Central Conference regular season championship.

It is Cedar Ridge’s second regular season conference championship in wrestling and its first at the 3A level. The other league title came in 2010, when the Red Wolves were a 2A team competing in the Mid-State Conference. With the title, Cedar Ridge automatically gains a spot in the State Dual Team Tournament, which was a point of emphasis for Metcalf.

Last year, Cedar Ridge won the Central Conference Tournament at Orange High School, the first sign of what was ahead in 2024. But the Red Wolves lost dual matches to Orange (the conference regular season champion) and Person, leaving them out of the field of 32.

The Red Wolves officially clinched the title with a 48-21 victory over Western Alamance on January 3 in Hillsborough. Fittingly, senior James Este-Wittinger won the match that sewed up the conference title for the Red Wolves. Este-Wittiner, who qualified for the state championships last year, earned a 6-5 decision over Cameron Pettigrew at 215 pounds to put the Red Wolves ahead 45-15, which proved insurmountable.

Earlier in the night, Prescod, Nathan Vendura, Graylon Collins and Shea Spiller all earned pinfall victories for the Red Wolves. Cedar Ridge’s Alejandro Briones defeated Jaxon Poole 8-6 at 144 pounds to improve Cedar Ridge’s lead to 21-6. Tatro held off Zeke May 6-0 at 175 pounds. Favio Jaramillo Esparza pinned Toriana Murphy at 106 pounds later in the night, while Luis DonJuan won at heavyweight over Evan Hensley of Western Alamance 8-1.

In addition to its victory over Williams on January 10, the Red Wolves defeated Southeast Alamance 71-9 and East Chapel Hill 53-27 to close out the quad meet on its senior night.

Tatro earned his 150th win with three technical fall victories. He defeated Sawyer Marshall of Williams, Holden Noble of East Chapel Hill and Nichols Saounders of Southeast Alamance. In addition, Tatro picked up two more wins during the Chapel Hill quad at Chapel Hill High School last Friday. Tatro got another technical fall win over Sergio Hewitt of Chapel Hill, then pinned Mohammed Jatta of Millbrook. Tatro is now at 152 career wins. The school record is held by Chandler Collins, who finished with 166 victories from 2003-2007.

Tatro is 43-4 with 20 pins and 15 technical falls this season.

Another emerging star is heavyweight Aaron Olivares, who has pinned his last seven opponents. Olivares earned victories over Chris Mellon of Williams, Landen Hill of Southeast Alamance and Stephen Halsey of East Chapel Hill on senior night. He is 23-16 with 18 pins this season.

Prescod, competing at 120 pounds, won all three of his matches on Senior Night. Prescod earned career win #100 with a pin of Henry Parnell of East Chapel Hill. Over the weekend, Prescod pinned Owen Rector of Chapel Hill and Kyle Amose of Millbrook to improve to 39-9 this season with 29 pins.

Junior Ryan Rakouskas has won five straight matches going into this weekend’s Central Conference Tournament. Rakouskas pinned Gabriel Waterhouse of Chapel Hill and John Burch of Millbrook to improve to 28-10 with 23 pins. Rakousaks also qualified for the state championships last year.



Collins, Prescod earn pins as Cedar Ridge moves closer to conference title with win over E. Alamance

It’s not even Christmas yet, but the Cedar Ridge wrestling team already has its New Year’s Resolution set.

Win the Central Conference championship.

When 2024 begins, the Red Wolves will be just two wins away from its first-ever undefeated conference season as a 3A team, and just its second regular season conference championship ever.

Last week, the Red Wolves earned bonus points in six consecutive matches to defeat Eastern Alamance Eagles 58-18 at the Tal Jobe Court in Mebane. The Red Wolves improved to 10-7 overall, 5-0 in the Central Conference.

The Eagles (6-5, 2-2) got pinfall victories from Braxton Ballard (126 pounds), Chasen Phillips (138) and Elijah Watson (113).

Cedar Ridge junior Pierce Prescod started the night by pinning Jayden Batten in just 28 seconds at 120 pounds. Prescod, who won the Central Conference championship at 120 pounds last year, improved to 21-2 after his 15th pin of the season.

Ballard’s pin at 126 evened the match, but Cedar Ridge’s Graylon Collins put the Red Wolves ahead when he pinned Lucas Dodson in 32 seconds. Phillips pinned Jordin Blue in 2:37 to even the dual match at 12-12, but Cedar Ridge won the next nine individual battles for sew up the win.

Alejandro Briones earned his first technical fall win of the season at 144 pounds, beating Carson Gardner 17-1 in 3:07. Angus Pritchard earned a 10-8 decision over Mason Tanner a 150 pounds to put the Red Wolves ahead 20-12.

Ryan Rakouskas, who won the Red Wolf Invitational at 157 pounds last month, chalked up his 14th pin of the season with a victory over Aidan Clark in 33 seconds.

Shea Spiller, at 165 pounds, pinned Wyatt Facuette in 2:36.

At 175 pounds, senior Kaden Tatro notched his tenth victory via technical fall this year when he defeated Christopher Solomon 20-3 in 2:03. Tatro improved to 21-0.

James Este-Wittinger and Joe O’Melia picked up forfeit victories while heavyweight Aaron Olivares pinned Jett Giovani in 2:30.

At 106 pounds, Cedar Ridge’s Colton Jones earned his sixth win of the year with a 10-8 decision over Christopher Hamm.

Cedar Ridge will need to defeat Western Alamance and Walter Williams next month in order to secure an undefeated conference season. The Red Wolves opened the dual season with a 75-6 win over Williams in a non conference tilt on November 15 in Hillsborough.

It’s already been a milestone season for Cedar Ridge, which defeated crosstown rival Orange for the first time ever during a quad meet in Red Wolves Gymnasium December 6.

Last weekend, the Red Wolves split dual matches against two teams from Greensboro. The Red Wolves defeated the Page Pirates 66-15. The Dudley Panthers knocked off Cedar Ridge 49-23.

Tatro maintained his undefeated record with two wins on the day. He scored another tech fall over Cameron Perryman of Dudley, winning 17-2. Tatro earned a victory via injury stoppage against Taylor Parrish of Page. Tatro is 24-0 with 12 pins and eleven tech falls.

Prichard pins both of his opponents. He defeated Deion Marshall of Dudley at 150 pounds. Pritchard also pinned Jax Harrison of Page to improve to 9-2 on the season with four pins.

At 132 pounds, Collins earned a 14-7 decision over Jamarr Parker of Dudley. Later, he pinned Page’s Culley Beavers for his seventh fall of 2023.

Prescod pinned Page’s Lorenzo Kimber for his 16th fall of the year. Dudley’s Jazion Humphrey defeated Prescod 10-8. Prescod is 22-3.

Rakouskas pinned Trystin Andrews of Page to improve to 18-5 with 15 pins on the year. Rakouskas 65% pin percentage is the highest on the team.

On Thursday, Cedar Ridge will make its return to the Tiger Holiday Classic, one of the biggest annual wrestling events in the southeast. Held annually at Chapel Hill High School, the Red Wolves will be one of 41 teams in the event, which will include three teams from Virginia.

There will also be a women’s event, which will include members of Cedar Ridge’s female squad like Zoey Moreno, Julie Hancock, Chloe Pankratz and Mariana Duqum.



Cedar Ridge wrestling’s Kaden Tatro & Pierce Prescod discuss first-ever win over Orange

For over 20 years, the Cedar Ridge wrestling team had not defeated its crosstown rival, Orange. On Wednesday night, the streak finally ended in resounding fashion as Cedar Ridge defeated Orange 54-21 at Red Wolves Gymasnium. Junior Pierce Prescod earned three wins during the quad match. He pinned Orange’s Adrian Sierra in 1:33. Prescod, competing at 120 pounds, is 16-2 this season with a championship in the Red Wolf Invitational last month. Kaden Tatro won at 175 pounds, beating Orange’s Andre Hill 13-8. Tatro went on to pin Rosewood’s Aldinio Previl in 3:20 later in the night. Tatro is 15-1 this season with individual championships at the Red Wolf Invitational and the Green Hope Grapple at 175 pounds Tatro is looking to return to the 3A State Wrestling championships in February. As a team, Cedar Ridge has a bigger goal ahead: winning the Central Conference regular season championship. Cedar Ridge’s last conference regular season championship in wrestling came in 2010. Last year, the Red Wolves won the Central Conference Tournament championship, but didn’t make the state dual team playoffs. Cedar Ridge is already 3-0 this season with wins over Orange, Person and Southern Alamance. Next Wednesday, Cedar Ridge will travel to Eastern Alamance. This weekend, the Red Wolves travel to Apex High School for the Cougar/Crusader Duals, featuring Apex and Cardinal Gibbons.

Tatro wins 175-pound championship at Green Hope Grapple, Red Wolves finish 5th

Photo by Amy Tatro 

With one of its most anticipated dual matches in team history on the horizon, the Cedar Ridge wrestling squad crowned another individual champion during its annual trip to Cary.

On Saturday, senior Kaden Tatro won his second individual championship of the season at the Green Hope Grapple at Green Hope High School on Saturday. It was his fifth individual championship.

Cedar Ridge placed four wrestlers to finish in fifth place in the team standings with 130 points. Athens Drive, who won the team championship at the Red Wolf Invitational last month, claimed the team title in Green Hope, as well, with 174 points. Cape Fear finished second with 154 points.

Competing at 175 pounds, Tatro received the #2 seed and wasn’t taken beyond the second period in any of his four matches. In the championship match, he defeated the top seed Dominic Hittepole of Wheatmore via pinball in 3:15. Tatro took down Hittepole in a mere 19 seconds to open the match and led 2-1 at the end of the first period. Starting from the bottom to open the second period, Tatro notched a reversal and earned the pin after he shifted his body weight forward on top of Hittepole to earn the pin.

Tatro is now 13-0 this season with seven pints and six technical falls. In the second round in Cary, Tatro pinned Webb Crumpler of Broughton in 1:16. He scored the first of two tech falls in the quarterfinals when he defeated Matthew Schneider of Overhills 15-0 in 2:28. Tatro earned a spot in the championship match with a a 15-0 tech fall over James Lee of Western Harnett in 3:12.

Tatro, a senior, now has 122 career wins, the sixth Red Wolf wrestler in history with 100 career wins. He needs eight more to tie Randy Greenough for fourth place on the all-time Cedar Ridge list. The all-time leader is Chandler Collins, who compiled 166 wins from 2003-2007.

Cedar Ridge senior James Este-Wittinger finished second at 190 pounds. Este-Wittinger, a fullback and linebacker on the football team, defeated Baby Soles of South View 5-1 in the semifinals. Zaid Marjan of Athens Drive won over Este-Wittinger in the finals. In the second round, Este-Wittinger pinned Trenton Westbrook of Cape Fear in 4:31. Este-Wittinger won an exciting match over Canon Thoren of Sanderson 3-2 in the quarterfinals. With the match even 2-2 going into the final period, Este-Wittinger won after getting an escape point with 1:16 remaining.

At 157 pounds, Cedar Ridge’s Ryan Rakouskas finished in second place. Rakouskas, who won at 157 pounds in the Red Wolf Invitational, defeated Thomas Gingerich of Green Level 8-1 in the semifinals. Deshawn Cary of Harnett Central defeated Rakouskas 12-5 in the championship match.

Rakouskas pinned Hunter Langdon-Adams of Cleveland in the second round in 1:20. In the quarterfinals, Rakouskas defeated Jose Pereira of Wakefield 10-3.

At 113 pounds, Favio Jaramillo finished in third place. In the consolation final, Jaramillo defeated Christopher Geiger of Athens Drive 7-5 in the opening sudden victory round. In another tight finish, Geiger forced overtime with an escape point with six seconds remaining in the opening period. Jaramillo needed only 18 seconds to score the winning takedown in the extra round.

Jaramillo, who finished third at 106 pounds in the Red Wolf Invitational, defeated Max Bojdo of Sanderson 13-6 in the second round. Brian Dopp of South View held off Jaramillo 7-4 in the quarterfinals. Jaramillo defeated Hunter Barns of Wakefield 6-1 in the consolation semifinals.

Cedar Ridge has started 2-o in the Central Conference. On November 21, the Red Wolves won its league opener over Person 45-30, keyed by six pins. Tatro defeated David Garrett at 175 pounds. Rakouskas pined Addison Carey, while Jaramillo pinned Ryan Wilson at 106 pounds. Pierce Prescod, competing at 120 pounds, pinned Taveon Moss.

Last week, Cedar Ridge defeated Southern Alamance 52-24 in Graham. Grayson Collins, Rakouskas, Joe O’Melia, Jaramillo and Nathan Vendura all had pins for the Red Wolves. Tatro and Prescod both had technical falls.

Cedar Ridge will host Orange in a quad meet on Wednesday night.

Cedar Ridge’s Tatro, Prescod, Rakouskas wins championships at Red Wolf Invitational

A year after losing one of the most successful grapplers in school history, Cedar Ridge showed its depth during its season-opening event.

At the Red Wolves Invitational at Cedar Ridge High School, senior Kaden Tatro captured his second tournament championship at 175 pounds. Tatro, who finished sixth in the state at 182 pounds at the 3A State Championships last year, had a decisive run to the championship that included two technical fall victories and a pin in the final.

Tatro, who finished 54-8 last year, defeated Rodrigo Perea of Green Level 17-1 via technical fall in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Tatro knocked off Micah Frye of Middle Creek 17-0 in the semifinals. In the championship match, Tatro pinned Alexander Laughlin of Athens Drive in 1:55.

For junior Pierce Prescod, the season started with what one may view as a revenge tour. Last year, Prescod went into the 3A Mideast Regionals at 120-pounds with an 42-9 record. After losing to eventual regional champion Omari Figuroa of Eastern Guilford, Prescod faced off against Carson Cori of South Johnston needing only one win to qualify for the state championships. Just seconds into the match, Prescod was penalized for an illegal slam. Cori claimed his back was injured, which led to Prescod being disqualified against an opponent he would have been a favorite against.

In the Red Wolf Invitational, Prescod rolled through the field like a man with a purpose. He scored pins in all three of his matches. In the championship match, Prescod pinned Bearik Bigelow of Asheboro, the #2 seed, in 4:13. Prescod also defeated Fareed Busisou of Athens Drive in 50 seconds of the semifinals. In the quarterfinals, Prescod finished Alexander Gardner of Northern Durham in 1:40.

Ryan Rakouskas, who finished third in the region at 145 pounds last year, captured the championship at 157 pounds. In the championship match, Rakouskas defeated Thomas Gingerich of Green Level 9-3. Rakouskas got the opening takedown 37 seconds into the match, then took down Gingerich twice in the second period to take control of the match. Rakouskas needed only ten seconds to pin Ethan Cohen of Panther Creek in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Rakouskas defeated Bilial Benzemour of Southeast Raleigh in 1:07.

The team championship came down to the very end. Athens Drive managed to hold off Cedar Ridge to take the team title. The Jaguars finished with 178.5 points. The Red Wolves, with six wrestlers who placed, finished with 168 points.

At 190 pounds, Cedar Ridge senior James Este-Wittinger, who qualified for the state championships in 2022, finished runner-up. Este-Wittinger pinned Gabriel Delrosario of Millbrook in 4:38. Este-Wittinger was leading 8-2 at the time of the pinfall. In the semifinals, Este-Wittinger deefeated Person’s Malakai Newman 7-3 n what could be a preview of a Central Conference Championship match. Top-seeded Zair Marjan of Athens Drive pinned Este-Wittiner to win the championship.

At 126 points, Nathan Vendura finished runner-up in his first Red Wolf Invitational. Vendura upset top-seeded Carter Goodwin of Middle Creek 8-5 in the quarterfinals. In the opener, Vendura pinned Mason Winstead of Northern Durham in 5:06. Vendrua pinned Riley Neil of Southern Alamance in 2:39 to reach the final. In a wild final, Christian Neal of Corinth-Holders outscored Vendura 16-13 to win the championship. Venura got a late takedown and had Neal’s shoulders down for back points in the waning seconds, nearly getting the pin for an improbable championship until time ran out.

At 106 pounds, Cedar Ridge’s Favio Jaramillo Espar finished in third place. Espar lost his opening match to McBride Colton of McMichael. He rebounded to win four consecutive matches in the consolation round to earn third place. Espar held off Faysal Busisou of Athens Drive 8-5 in the third place match. In the consolation semifinals, Espar scored a major decision over Simon Hairstead of Apex Friendship 15-5.