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The Florida High School Athletic Association individual wrestling tournament starts out at an elevated level for the Celebration and Ridge Community varsity programs. That’s due in part to the Storm and Bolts sharing the same district with the championship-caliber Osceola Kowboys.

The postseason got underway last week with Celebration High hosting the Class 3A-District 5 individual bracket tournament on Feb. 17. The top four wrestlers in each weight classification – which had been mostly predetermined in District 5 where nine classes had four or fewer entries – automatically advanced to the 3A-Region 2 event scheduled for later this week (Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27) inside the Osceola High gymnasium.

The Kowboys racked up 256 points to claim a district championship, but Celebration (141.5) finished ahead of George Jenkins High (129.5) and Plant City (105) as the other programs to total more than 100 team points. Ridge Community had 20 points within the seven-school field.

Of the four Celebration wrestlers to reach the finals, two came away with district titles.

Kyler Peraza (36-10) won by fall over Plant City’s Jeremiah Smith to take first-place honors at 113 pounds, while teammate Josh Riddle (29-14) pinned Raquan Green of George Jenkins at the 4:34 mark to win the 170-pound class. According to statistics posted on the Track Wrestling website, Riddle also recorded the third-fastest fall (88 seconds) of the tournament.

Runner-up district finishes for the Storm went to Kaluv Peterson (30-18) at 126 pounds and Jeremiah Cirino (who had 27 total match points and improved to 31-17 on the season) at 145. Celebration’s third-place district finishers included Zachariah DeCesare (106), Sebastian Melendez (120), Miguel Suarez (138), Luis Moreno (160), Lucas Dapaixao (195) and Eriknaldo Gonzalez (285).

Ridge Community had a pair of regional qualifiers in senior Michael Edleback (12-10) at 152 pounds and senior Andrew Bentham (16-4) at 182. Both won their respective third-place matches by fall – Bentham at the 3:58 mark and Edlebeck in 4:16.

Postseason soccer updates

Ridge Community High’s boys varsity soccer team enjoyed a terrific season, but it wasn’t the end the Bolts had in mind.

The Bolts went into last Wednesday’s Class 7A regional quarterfinal match against Windermere High with an unblemished record. Ridge had also defeated the Wolverines by five goals at the end of January, but Windermere pulled off the shocker by winning the rematch 1-0.

It marked the second time in as many matches that the Bolts (13-1-0) did not score a regulation goal, which included a shootout victory over Cypress Creek in the Class 7A-District 6 final. Windermere advanced to the Region 2 semifinals against District 5 champion Clermont East Ridge, but results were unavailable at press time.

East Ridge and Cypress Creek played to a scoreless draw through regulation and overtime, but the Knights emerged from their regional quarterfinal matchup on Feb. 17 with an 8-7 edge on penalty kicks. Freshman goalkeeper Nicholas Aquilino made a stop on the Bears’ eighth attempt and Ethan Loden converted his attempt for the winning margin.

The Knights, who made it 10 consecutive matches without a loss dating back to Jan. 12, looked to defeat Windermere and earn a spot in the Region 2 final on Tuesday (Feb. 23). The other Region 2 semifinal matched Tampa Plant and Newsome.

The East Ridge girls soccer team ran its unbeaten streak to 19 matches with last week’s 5-2 victory over Orlando Freedom. The Lady Knights qualified for the regional semifinals for the first time in school history as junior captain Mireya Zepeda collected three goals and one assist, Cayla Jackson had one goal and one assist and freshman Morgan Guillmette added one goal.

East Ridge’s regional semifinal opponent was Ridge Community, but results were unavailable at press time. The Bolts improved to 17-4-1 with a 3-2 regional quarterfinal win over West Orange on Feb. 16 as Noemi Casique registered two goals and one assist and Sariaha Romo contributed one goal.

The girls’ Class 7A-2 regional final was also scheduled for Tuesday (Feb. 23).

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