RAEFORD — Four wrestlers reached the podium for the Richmond Raiders during Saturday’s Sandhills Athletic Conference tournament.
A dozen Raiders competed in the event at Hoke County High School, helping the Raiders take fourth place out of seven teams.
Richmond earned 115.5 points, trailing the host Bucks (164 points). Union Pines High School won its 13 straight conference title with 214 points, cruising past second-place Pinecrest (181.5 points).
It would be the Raiders’ heavier classes that finished toward the top of their weight classes.
Freshman Jordan Hamilton (195-pounds) and senior Urijah McDonald (285-pounds) both finished second, while senior Messiah Shaw (170-pounds) and sophomore K’Mauri Morgan (220-pounds) placed third.
Hamilton and McDonald both finished with a 2-1 record and stayed in the championship bracket the whole tournament.
Opening with a bye in the quarterfinal, Hamilton went on to pin Matthew Thomas (Lee County) at the 3:13 mark in the second period. Wrestling for a conference title, Hamilton fell short to Union Pines’ Colton Collins via pinfall.
Following a similar script, McDonald used a quarterfinals bye to advance and earn a pinfall victory in the semis. He defeated Wyatt Rickard of Lee County nearly halfway through the second period.
McDonald’s run came to an end in a 10-8 sudden victory decision to Randolph Sanders of Hoke County.
Shaw and Morgan had matching 3-1 records en route to their third-place finishes.
In the quarterfinals, Shaw pinned Lee County’s Rylan Raeser with four seconds left in the second period. Following a loss, Shaw rebounded with a pin over Emmanuel Bratcher (Hoke County, 2:17) in the consolation semis.
Facing Dustin Maness (Union Pines) in the third-place match, Shaw earned a 6-4 sudden victory decision.
Morgan earned a bye, lost in the semis and used another bye in the consolation round to set him up against Scotland’s Andrew Godwin.
Against his Fighting Scot opponent, Morgan rounded out Richmond’s podium placement with a pinfall victory just 48 seconds into the second round.
Five Raiders went 2-2 on the day, with each of them winning the opening quarterfinal round and the consolation semifinal round. All five wrestlers finished fourth in their respective weight class.
Sophomore Adam Estridge (132-pounds) had two first-period pins over Jordan Brad of Lee County (58 seconds) and Marcel Martin of Scotland (1:00).
Senior Louis Fernandez (138-pounds) also had two pins, defeating Ori Ellis (Southern Lee, 1:35) and Darion Harris (Scotland, 3:01).
Senior Jaxson Martin opened the 145-pound quarterfinals with a 9-2 decision over Joseph Vrabcak (Union Pines) and added a pin against Kevin Brown (Southern Lee, 1:38).
Fellow senior Naaman Perakis (152-pounds) began his day with a 16-0 technical fall over Anthony Pate of Scotland, before notching his second win via pinfall in his match with Dylan Stewart (Lee County, 45 seconds).
Rounding out the 2-2 performances was senior Amir Martin in the 160-pound bracket. He recorded two pins, starting with Daniel Reible (Lee County, 40 seconds) and Tyus Shaw (Hoke County, 2:06).
Sophomore Jackson Hamilton (182-pounds) earned one victory, a pinfall over Wyatt Locklear of Scotland in 25 seconds during the consolation semifinal round.
Freshman D.J. Gainey (120-pounds) registered Richmond’s final six points thanks to a forfeit in the first consolation round. Senior Gael Onesto competed in the 113-pound weight class, but suffered a pair of losses.
Next up for the Raiders is the NCHSAA 4A Mideast regional tournament, which is set for Feb. 10 and 11 at Fuquay-Varina High School.
Ellerbe said he expects several Raiders to qualify, but won’t officially know until the seeding is released on Jan. 26.