Ridge Wrestlers Defy Expectations to Clinch Historic State Title

Coming into the season not many had Ridge as a true contender in the State. They had a team of hardworking and talented wrestlers, yet on paper, they were not the favorites. Mount Olive seemed too powerful with quality wins over teams like Delsea, Pope John, Northern Hunterdon, it was thought that the Marauders would be adding another team to their list of victories. However, the Red Devils wrote a narrative of resilience and grit, culminating in a season that shattered expectations.

The championship match was a rollercoaster from the start. Mount Olive opened up with two pins from the upper weights but were quickly answered by two pins from Ridge. With a tied match, the Marauders went on to grab three pins in a row. Ridge found themselves in a challenging position, trailing 30-12 after the first seven bouts, leaving Ridge with a steep hill to climb. The turning point came with Ryan Engle's stunning performance at 150 pounds. Down 3-0, Engle secured a cradle seconds into the second period, pinning Tanner Perez and igniting a comeback that set the gym ablaze with excitement.

The team rallied to win the next three bouts, shifting the momentum irreversibly in their favor. With a score of 33-32, we were down to the final bout. Kevin Taylor (Ridge) met with Nicolas Gonzalez (Mount Olive) in a winner-claims-all match at 175. The match was closely contested with back and forth scoring where we were looking at a true toss up. Suddenly, both wrestlers go into a scramble where Taylor was able to work his way in for a takedown. Facing intense pressure, Taylor delivered a ferocious third-period ride, demonstrating the upper hand that lead to the teams victory.